Tag: Jewish vote

STATUS QUO, ONLY MORE SO: MITT ROMNEY (AND ISRAEL?) LOST

 

International Conference

 

Download the Isranet Daily Briefing in .pdf format

Contents:

 

 

 

Obama’s Victory: Isi Leibler, Jerusalem Post, Nov. 8, 2012 —By now, Obama may also have independently reached the conclusion that by distancing the US and exerting harsh pressure on Israel, all he achieved was to embolden the radical Islamists and encourage the Palestinians to become more intransigent in their demands

 

America’s Yearning for Change Produces the Status Quo, Only More So:George F. Will, National Post, Nov 8, 2012 —Voters littered the political landscape with contradictions between their loudly articulated discontents and their observable behavior. Self-identified conservatives outnumber self-identified liberals 2-1 in a nation that has re-elected the most liberal president since Lyndon Johnson and his mentor Franklin Roosevelt

 

Why Mitt Romney Lost: Christopher Ruddy, Newsmax, Nov. 7, 2012  —With the 2012 election results in, there are no short- or even medium-term "silver linings" for Republicans. President Barack Obama has won a decisive victory and the GOP, expecting to gain Senate seats, actually had a net loss of three.

 

On Topic Links

 

 

Why American Jews Don’t (And Won’t) Vote Republican: Jonathan Kay, National Post, Nov 8, 2012

Startling Puzzle of O’s Second Chance: Michael Goodwin, New York Post, November 7, 2012

Same Old Same Old in the U.S. Election: Father Raymond J. de Souza, National Post, Nov 8, 2012 

 

 

 

OBAMA’S VICTORY

Isi Leibler

Jerusalem Post, November 8, 2012

 

Being in the US this week during the elections has truly been a remarkable experience and roller coaster. The outcome is that, for better or for worse, the American people have determined that President Barack Obama will serve a second four year term as leader of the Western world.

 

Aside from Americans, this will probably impact more on us in Israel than any other nation because of our heavy reliance on US political and military support….Our government should now concentrate on devising a strategy to maximize a meaningful relationship with the second Obama Administration without compromising our security or independence. This will not be easy but it is achievable so long as we behave rationally, American grass roots support for Israel remains strong and Congress does not abandon us.

 

Despite the fact that most politicians routinely abrogate pre electoral promises, we should act on the initial assumption that Obama will behave honorably and broadly adhere to the positive undertakings relating to Israel that he constantly reiterated over the past six months. He should be reminded that in the course of the last debate with Romney he went so far as to say “Israel is a true friend… It is our greatest ally in the region. And if Israel is attacked, America will stand with Israel.”…

 

We should be heartened by the fact that Obama’s “charm campaign” and pragmatic pro-Israeli policies designed to obtain support from American Jews during the pre-election period, suggest that he is not necessarily committed to an ideological anti-Israeli agenda. Hopefully, from Obama’s vantage, he may have appreciated that bullying or demeaning Netanyahu was counter-productive and in fact strengthened rather than undermined his popular support In Israel.

 

He must also be aware that over the past few years, despite some erosion within the Democratic party, Congress remains overwhelmingly supportive of Israel, reflecting the record levels of support which Israel enjoys overall with the American people. Should Obama revert to his earlier approach of continuously publicly reprimanding Israel whilst treating the duplicitous Palestinian leaders with kid gloves, he could bring about a confrontation with Congress.

 

By now, Obama may also have independently reached the conclusion that by distancing the US and exerting harsh pressure on Israel, all he achieved was to embolden the radical Islamists and encourage the Palestinians to become more intransigent in their demands. Moreover after burning itself on so many occasions in its former failed Middle East policies, the new administration may well decide to distance itself from seeking to resolve the intractable Arab-Israeli conflict.

 

We should therefore, at least at the outset, adopt a positive approach to the new administration and assume that Obama will adhere to his commitments and that the improvement in relations with Israel created over the past six months will be sustained. However it is important for pro-Israel activists to be prepared immediately to raise their voices should he renege on his electoral undertakings. This applies particularly in relation to Obama’s passionate pledge that Iran would never be permitted to obtain a nuclear bomb under his watch. He stated repeatedly “As long as I am President of the United States, Iran will not get a nuclear weapon.”

 

Israel must also, if necessary, be prepared to initiate a public campaign to explain our position should Obama revert to insisting that the indefensible 1949 armistice lines serve as the opening benchmark for negotiations with the Palestinians. In addition, American Jewish leaders – presumably led by AIPAC – must as a priority, launch a major campaign to reinforce the traditional pro-Israeli attitude relationship of the Democratic party. Such a course of action would have been equally imperative had Romney been elected.

 

At a grass roots level there is now unquestionably a growing far-left minority emerging within the Democratic party which is indifferent and, in many cases, out rightly hostile to Israel. It received a boost from the Obama Administration when it sought to distance itself from Israel in order to appease the Arabs.

 

These trends were accelerated by agitation from Jews bitterly opposed to the Israeli government, as exemplified by Jeremy Ben-Ami, head of J Street who claims to have a better understanding of what is good for Israel than Israelis themselves and Peter Beinart who is adored by the liberal media and calls for a global boycott of Israeli settlements. Ignoring the fact that today, subject to the Palestinians recognizing Israel’s security needs, a consensus prevails in Israel favoring a two state policy – these Jews have been continuously trying to persuade elements within the Democratic party that Israel was the intransigent party and the obstacle to achieving a peace settlement in the Arab-Israeli conflict….

 

The reinforcement of bi-partisanship towards Israel is crucial, because if elements hostile to Israel become dominant or even influential amongst either of the two mainstream parties, it would undermine one of the strongest foundations sustaining the US Israel alliance. That the majority of Jews continued to support Obama in the elections should strengthen the ability of Democrats seeking to marginalize the anti-Israeli elements and restore the standing of Israel in the Democratic party.

 

We may be facing difficult times. But we must remain optimistic in the knowledge that the United States is a democracy. As long as public opinion continues to support Israel, the relationship between both countries may, as in the past, undergo strains and stresses, but will remain intact.

Top of Page

 


 

 

 

AMERICA’S YEARNING FOR CHANGE
PRODUCES THE STATUS QUO, ONLY MORE SO

George F. Will

National Post, Nov 8, 2012

 

America’s 57th presidential election revealed that a second important national institution is on an unsustainable trajectory. The first, the entitlement state, is endangered by improvident promises to an aging population. It is now joined by the political party whose crucial current function is to stress the need to reform this state. The Republican Party, like today’s transfer-payment state, is endangered by tardiness in recognizing that demography is destiny.

 

Perhaps Mitt Romney lost the 2012 election on Sept. 22, 2011, when, alarmed by Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s entry into the Republican nomination race, he rushed to Perry’s right regarding immigration, attacking the DREAM Act. He would go on to talk about forcing illegal immigrants into “self-deportation.” It is surprising that only about 70 percent of Hispanics opposed Romney.

 

As it has every four years since 1992, the white portion of the turnout declined in 2012. In 2008, Barack Obama became the first person elected president while losing the white vote by double digits. In 2012 — the year after the first year in which a majority of babies born in America were minorities — Hispanics were for the first time a double-digit (10 percent) portion of the turnout. Republicans have four years to figure out how to leaven their contracting base with millions more members of America’s largest and fastest-growing minority.

 

Romney’s melancholy but useful role has been to refute those determinists who insist that economic conditions are almost always decisive. Americans are earning less and worth less than they were four years ago; average household income is down $3,800; under the 11 presidents from Harry Truman through George W. Bush, unemployment was 8 percent or more for a total of 39 months but was over that for 43 Obama months. Yet voters preferred the president who presided over this to a Republican who, more than any candidate since the Great Depression, made his economic expertise his presidential credential.

 

Voters littered the political landscape with contradictions between their loudly articulated discontents and their observable behavior. Self-identified conservatives outnumber self-identified liberals 2-1 in a nation that has re-elected the most liberal president since Lyndon Johnson and his mentor Franklin Roosevelt. A nation said to be picnicking on the slope of a volcano, with molten anger bubbling just below its thin and brittle crust, has matched a rare record of stability in its central political office: For only the second time — the first was the Virginia dynasty of the third, fourth and fifth presidents, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison and James Monroe — there will be three consecutive two-term presidents.

 

A nation vocally disgusted with the status quo has reinforced it by ratifying existing control of the executive branch and both halves of the legislative branch. After three consecutive “wave” elections in which a party gained at least 20 House seats, and at a moment when approval of Congress has risen — yes, risen — to 21 percent, voters ratified Republican control of the House, keeping in place those excoriated as obstructionists by the president the voters retained. Come January, Washington will be much as it has been, only more so.

 

Obama is only the second president (Andrew Jackson was the first) to win a second term with a reduced percentage of the popular vote, and the third (after James Madison and Woodrow Wilson) to win a second term with a smaller percentage of the electoral vote. A diminished figure after conducting the most relentlessly negative campaign ever run by an incumbent, his meager mandate is to not be Bain Capital. Foreshadowing continuing institutional conflict, which the constitutional system not only anticipates but encourages, Speaker John Boehner says of the House Republican caucus: “We’ll have as much of a mandate as he will.”

 

The electoral vote system, so incessantly and simple-mindedly criticized, has again performed the invaluable service of enabling federalism — presidents elected by the decisions of the states’ electorates — to deliver a constitutional decisiveness that the popular vote often disguises.

 

Republicans can take some solace from the popular vote. But unless they respond to accelerating demographic changes — and Obama, by pressing immigration reform, can give Republicans a reef on which they can wreck themselves — the 58th presidential election may be like the 57th, only more so.

 

This election was fought over two issues as old as the Republic, the proper scope and actual competence of government. The president persuaded — here the popular vote is the decisive datum — almost exactly half the voters. The argument continues. As Benjamin Disraeli said, “Finality is not the language of politics.”

 

Top of Page

 

 

 

 

WHY MITT ROMNEY LOST
Christopher Ruddy

Newsmax, November 7, 2012

 

It was the worst of times and the worst of times.  With the 2012 election results in, there are no short- or even medium-term "silver linings" for Republicans. President Barack Obama has won a decisive victory and the GOP, expecting to gain Senate seats, actually had a net loss of three. The "morning after" will bring the expected explanations and after-game quarterbacking. Still, it is important that the GOP understand why we lost this one in hopes of future victory. Perhaps the easy explanation is that two hurricanes and two betrayals by Chris Christie killed Mitt Romney's chances.

The first hurricane was Isaac, the one that skirted Tampa in late August during the Republican convention. That one seriously disrupted the official schedule.  GOP star Marco Rubio — who gave the best speech of the convention — was bumped off prime-time TV coverage, and so was the video biography "introducing" Mitt to the nation….

The ground lost in Tampa wasn't regained until the first debate in Denver, when Romney shined. It was the first, best, and last time he would really sparkle. As a result of the debates, by late October polls showed that Romney was finally beginning to see a surge. Then the second hurricane, Sandy, struck on Oct. 29. The campaign went into “freeze” mode while Obama swung into “commander in chief” mode. Romney's surge was suddenly frozen too. Enter Iago.

It was perfectly fine for Chris Christie to join with Obama in the wake of the crisis. But to lather the president with praise, calling his response to Sandy “outstanding” in the immediate aftermath of the storm was completely unjustified.

It was another act of treachery. (As the disaster unfolded, and with hundreds of thousands still without electric power as I write this, there is plenty of evidence that the leadership by Obama and federal agencies has been seriously lacking, as it has been from Christie and other state and local officials who have failed to adequately prepare and respond to the disaster.)

As I said, it is easy to blame Sandy and Christie for Romney's loss. I won't. Sure they hurt Romney. But he lost for other reasons.  Sandy and Christie's double-dealing can be compared to bad turbulence that any experienced jet pilot should expect on a long mission. The turbulence may be rough, but it is nothing more than a passing episode for a good pilot with a smart flight plan. On to why our pilot Mitt Romney and his plan were so flawed.

1. Paul Ryan. Romney's choice of Ryan was almost inexplicable. A good conservative, Ryan was unqualified for the job of vice president, and therefore the job of president. A sitting member of Congress, he held no leadership position on the Hill.  Romney's VP selection was the most important one of his campaign, and by it he telegraphed his lack of political wisdom to the nation.

With his VP pick Romney had the opportunity to show he was willing to reach out to middle voters and break out of the GOP's demographic box (think Rubio, Nevada's Brian Sandoval, or New Mexico's Susana Martinez) or pick a Republican heavyweight who exuded gravitas while potentially giving him a state (think Rob Portman or Tim Pawlenty).

2. The Ryan Plan. Romney had endorsed Ryan's plan for Medicare even before he tapped him as a running mate. But by selecting Ryan, he was nailing the odious plan to the masthead of his campaign. Ryan's plan, which first called for abolishing federal Medicare in 10 years and later for a substitute voucher program, proved to be disastrous for Romney and other Republican candidates.

As far as I could see, the Ryan plan was the No. 1 policy focus of Obama's and other Democratic attack ads against the GOP.  I am not sure what the GOP was smoking when they decided to propose demolishing or radically altering the cherished healthcare program for seniors. Apparently, the Romney campaign began to realize Ryan's negatives late in the campaign, banishing his public appearances to secure red states. But it was too late.

3. The Myth of a “Base Election.” Romney totally bought into the notion that this was an election about energizing the conservative base. He seems to have ignored the fact that the base was already highly energized because of its dislike of Barack Obama. This election was just like every other one in modern times — about winning middle, swing voters. We used to call them Reagan Democrats but the better label today is Clinton Democrats.  Romney did much to annoy them (like backing the Ryan plan) and almost nothing to reach out to them….

4. No Plan. …Romney needed to espouse several simple ideas that explained what he would do if elected president. Romney promised to create 12 million jobs. That's not a plan, it's a promise. He didn't clearly articulate how he could fulfill that promise. In fact, Romney's team offered the fewest specifics of any presidential campaign ever.

5. Crushing Optimism. When, in 1980, Ronald Reagan put the GOP on the path of optimism and economic growth, he not only won two landslide elections, he also changed the political landscape for three decades. When Romney did offer a plan, it was about "hard truths," such as tackling the deficit, cutting the debt, cutting the budget (killing Big Bird), and cutting Medicare.

What happened to the Grand Old Party that once advocated cutting taxes and spurring economic growth — ideas espoused by the late Jack Kemp and people like Arthur Laffer, Larry Kudlow, Newt Gingrich, Mike Reagan, and others?  This is the party most Americans and I identify with.

6. Poor Campaign Staff. Considering that Romney's presidential quest was the best funded Republican race in history, his campaign staff was certainly not the best money could buy. The Romney staff was insular and arrogant, and his campaign strategy team led by Stu Stevens and Russ Schriefer was simply abysmal.

7. No “Gingrich” Ads Against Obama. Residing in a battleground state, Florida, I had a front-row seat to Romney's ad war on Obama. I was shocked how few ads the campaign was airing over the summer and how many Obama’s campaign was.

Meanwhile, Obama's ads were nasty, negative ones, while Romney's were of the kinder, gentler, country-club Republican variety.  I asked a high-level Romney operative why the Republicans were spending $2.5 million to build a wooden stage for the Tampa convention and not putting the money into ads.

The answer: The Romney camp believe people don't remember ads until close to the election. The sea of Romney ads never did emerge that September. I thought perhaps this was just the Florida strategy. But then I read a shocking report in Broadcasting & Cable, the respected TV industry publication.

By late September Romney's campaign had not even run a single TV ad in several key markets in swing state Ohio! And the magazine reported that because Romney's campaign was not planning its ad buys properly, they were often paying five to 10 times more than Obama was paying for the same ad spot.

Obama's campaign, of course, took the opposite approach to Romney's, defining him early on with hard-hitting TV ads. Romney's failure to run tough ads against Obama is mind-boggling, even more so because of how Romney ran his primary campaign….

8. Dissing Hispanics. As the elections of 2000, 2004, 2008, and now 2012 have demonstrated, demographics are trumping ideology in national elections.  The Republican Party has a difficult time grasping this concept. Romney seemingly ignored this truth by taking an ultra-hardline on immigration — one so tough he called for the "self deportation" of illegal immigrants. Not only is such a plan impractical and immoral, it is unacceptable politically, as yesterdays' results proved.

Consider that Obama reneged on his promise to Hispanics to make their concerns a priority. They were there for the GOP's taking. The one Hispanic group that has voted consistently for Republicans — Cuban-Americans — gave Obama a record number of votes this year. Already the liberal spinmeisters are blaming the tea party and conservatives for Romney's loss. The facts show the claim is not true.

The success Romney did achieve was due to their support. Romney's loss was due to a concoction of things involving the candidate himself, his team, his strategy, and his decisions.
 

Soon we will, correctly, move on. The GOP will learn from this debacle. The Republican Party might start the process with an image makeover — putting away the Wall Street look in favor of a Main Street one — while it takes back the mantle of Lincoln; a party that fights for the underdog and appeals to the aspirations of the American people. (Christopher Ruddy is CEO and editor of Newsmax Media Inc.)

 

Top of Page

 

 

 

 

Why American Jews Don’t (And Won’t) Vote Republican: Jonathan Kay, National Post, Nov 8, 2012

The Jews get blamed for everything — even Mitt Romney’s defeat. What’s more, the charge is coming from fellow Jews, who complain that their Obama-voting co-religionists were sellouts to the Zionist cause on Tuesday.

 

Startling Puzzle of O’s Second Chance: Michael Goodwin, New York Post, November 7, 2012

His first four years were mostly a bust, he offered no promises or agenda for the second four—and Barack Obama won anyway.Go figure.
 

Same Old Same Old in the U.S. Election: Father Raymond J. de Souza, National Post, Nov 8, 2012

On the day after the day after, the drama seems less dramatic. Americans did what they usually do. The question is whether doing the usual thing is a sufficient response to the unusual circumstances of the United States

 

 

Visit CIJR’s Bi-Weekly Webzine: Israzine.

CIJR’s ISRANET Daily Briefing is available by e-mail.
Please urge colleagues, friends, and family to visit our website for more information on our ISRANET series.
To join our distribution list, or to unsubscribe, visit us at http://www.isranet.org/.

The ISRANET Daily Briefing is a service of CIJR. We hope that you find it useful and that you will support it and our pro-Israel educational work by forwarding a minimum $90.00 tax-deductible contribution [please send a cheque or VISA/MasterCard information to CIJR (see cover page for address)]. All donations include a membership-subscription to our respected quarterly ISRAFAX print magazine, which will be mailed to your home.

CIJR’s ISRANET Daily Briefing attempts to convey a wide variety of opinions on Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish world for its readers’ educational and research purposes. Reprinted articles and documents express the opinions of their authors, and do not necessarily reflect the viewpoint of the Canadian Institute for Jewish Research.

 

 

Ber Lazarus, Publications Editor, Canadian Institute for Jewish ResearchL'institut Canadien de recherches sur le Judaïsme, www.isranet.org

Tel: (514) 486-5544 – Fax:(514) 486-8284 ; ber@isranet.org

DEMOCRATS BACKPEDAL AS ISRAEL CONFRONTS EGYPT, SYRIA – REPUBLICAN ROMNEY’S THE ONE!

    ** NEW:  ISRALERT  **

Weekly Political Video Analysis

With Professor F. krantz

 

 

CIJR’S Latest ISRAZINE is
now available on line (isranet.org):

Israel's Levy Report:
Clarifying the Misconceptions

 

 

International Conference

 

Download the Isranet Daily Briefing in .pdf format

Contents:

 

 

Why Obama Should be Voted Out of Office Today: Barry Rubin, GLORIA Center, Nov. 6, 2012

There are many reasons why I’m thoroughly disgusted with all the phony Obama-loves-Israel or Obama has done a good job on foreign policy nonsense and the foolish things many American Jews and many Americans say about him on this topic.

 

Weakness invites provocations: Manfred Gerstenfeld, Ynet News, Nov. 2, 2012

President Obama is not popular among Israeli Jews. A few days ago, a poll asked which presidential candidate would be preferable concerning Israel's interests. Fifty-seven percent of Israeli Jews preferred Romney, while 22% said Obama.

 

The United States Election: A Critical Juncture For Israel, Harold M. Waller, Israblog, Nov. 6, 2012

When examining the presidential election campaign, it is tempting to focus on the polls, the debates, the television commercials, and the candidates’ speeches.  But from the perspective of most Israelis the dominant issue is very much more profound.  Not only is it about the Iranian nuclear threat, but it concerns thousands of years of Jewish history. 

 

I Didn't Leave the Democrats. They Left Me: Sheldon G. Adelson, Wall Street Journal, Nov 4, 2012

When members of the Democratic Party booed the inclusion of God and Jerusalem in their party platform this year, I thought of my parents. They would have been astounded.  The immigrant family in which I grew up was, in the matter of politics, typical of the Jews of Boston in the 1930s and '40s. Of the two major parties, the Democrats were in those days the more supportive of Jewish causes.

 

On Topic Links

 

United States Debt Clock

Into the Fray: Obama, Islam and Israel: Martin Sherman, Jerusalem Post, Nov. 1, 2012

The Choice: Charles Krauthammer, Jerusalem Post, Nov 5, 2012

Canadians Have Love Affair With Obama, But Romney Is Better For Canada: Michael Den Tandt, National Post, Nov 5, 2012

Congressional Candidates Against Israel: 2012.pdf : Jerrold L. Sobel,  Oct. 28, 2012

If You Can’t Vote for Romney, Don’t Vote for Obama: Richard Landes, Augean Stables, Nov. 05, 2012

 

 

 

WHY OBAMA SHOULD BE VOTED OUT OF OFFICE TODAY

Barry Rubin

GLORIA Center, Nov. 6, 2012

 

For four years now–yes, I started before he was actually inaugurated–I have been chronicling the disastrous policies of President Barack Obama on the Middle East. I may have written as many as 1000 articles that deal with aspects of this issue. In the tradition of Scheherazade, perhaps the greatest of Middle Eastern story-tellers, that makes this my 1001th story.

 

And now the day has come when it will be decided if he will have the same period of time once again to do more damage, to help destroy more lives, create tens of thousands of refugees, and lay the basis for new wars.

 

I have written about how this administration has supported the bad guys–with guns and diplomatic help–in Syria, those who want to turn the country into an anti-American Islamic republic. Of how the nation’s leaders believe that helping just about every Islamist group except al-Qaida is a great idea because they will be moderate and good friends of America. Then there’s the disgraceful Benghazi incident where, whatever the precise details, the White House stood by as Americans were murdered and then rationalized the motive of the terrorists by blaming the United States. Benghazi is the perfect symbol for Obama Middle East policy.   

 

I’ve explained why apology, appeasement, flattery, and empathy won’t work in turning radicals and terrorists into moderates. I wrote of how the claim that Obama didn’t play a significant role in the empowerment of revolutionary Islamists is bogus. And of how by the standards Obama explicitly set down at the start of his term his policy has totally failed.

 

Perhaps most importantly of all I’ve explained why there is every reason to believe that another four years of Obama will be just as bad or worse, that the president has learned few lessons likely to change his approach to the region.  And all of the above–and more–was just in the month of October 2012.

 

None of this was done due to ideology–I’m not a conservative–or partisanship–I’m not a Republican–but out of a deep-seated belief that his policy in the Middle East is terribly dangerous because it nurtures the worst forces that want to seize power, create dictatorships, oppress women, terrorize Christians, commit genocide against Jews, set their countries for decades on a course of war and repression, and do everything they can to destroy U.S. interests.

 

Imagine a U.S. president in the 1930s or early 1940s helping fascists get into power and whitewashing their ideology and behavior. Imagine a U.S. president who in the 1950s or 1960s did the same for Communists. How would you feel about such a person and his effect on the world?  Recently several readers have written me that they will be voting for Obama because they believe that he has learned his lesson, is a true friend of Israel, hasn’t done harm because he had no control over events. I can understand how people might say such things but not after they’ve read what I’ve written about these matters.

 

And now the day has come to make a choice.

 

 There are many reasons why I’m thoroughly disgusted with all the phony Obama-loves-Israel or Obama has done a good job on foreign policy nonsense and the foolish things many American Jews and many Americans say about him on this topic. But let me reduce all of these points to one central–and indisputable by anyone who is honest–issue:

 

Obama has helped put into power in Egypt the Muslim Brotherhood, the world’s leading anti-American, antisemitic movement; has backed its coming to power  in Syria (though he backed the equally anti-American, antisemitic, anti-Israel Bashar al-Asad dictatorship before the revolt); and helped maintain in power another Brotherhood branch,  by pressing Israel to reduce sanctions and opposing Israel’s self-defense against it, in the Gaza Strip. This group openly embraces genocide against Israel and Jews generally.

 

He has also backed a Turkish regime that loathes Israel, employs antisemitism, supports Hamas and Hizballah, and wants to kick U.S. influence out of the region. The leader of that regime is, according to Obama, his hero. The Obama Administration has not lifted a finger to press Turkey toward rebuilding relations with Israel. On the contrary, it has rewarded a Turkish regime that is doing the opposite. Only on the issue of continued aid and intelligence cooperation with Israel has Obama kept up the traditional relationship.

 

He has fought al-Qaida but helped or at least not done anything against other revolutionary Islamist movements. As a result of Obama’s policies, too, even more extremist Salafist movements have been unleashed in several countries. The Muslim Brotherhood is quite tolerant of these terrorist forces and uses them as part of its overall strategy.

 

As a result of Obama’s policies, too, even more extremist Salafist movements have been unleashed. The Muslim Brotherhood is quite tolerant of these terrorist forces and uses them as part of its overall strategy.

How can one lionize an American president who has given major backing and been an apologist for such a movement?

 

One can talk about Iran, the Jerusalem issue, and lots of other things. But whitewashing and helping five regimes or movements that openly and daily call for wiping Israel off the map, slanders Jews, and calls for their mass murder qualifies as sufficient in my book to laugh at any assertion that such a president is “good” for Israel. And whitewashing and helping five regimes or movements that call for hating America, murdering its citizens, destroying its interests, and even–albeit more fancifully–destroying the United States qualifies as sufficient in my book to laugh at any assertion that such a president is “good” for America.

 

Obama’s policies have placed the lives of Americans and Israelis in jeopardy, as well as the citizens of many other countries, and made war more likely. For the first time in many decades, Israel cannot depend on the U.S. government. Neither can a dozen Arabic-speaking states that have relied on U.S. support. Neither can Middle Eastern pro-democracy advocates, moderates, secularists, women, and Christians. Neither can Americans.

 

Something should be done about that. And today is the day to do it.

Top of Page

 


 

 

WEAKNESS INVITES PROVOCATIONS

Manfred Gerstenfeld

Ynet News, November 2, 2012

 

President Obama is not popular among Israeli Jews. A few days ago, a poll asked which presidential candidate would be preferable concerning Israel's interests. Fifty-seven percent of Israeli Jews preferred Romney, while 22% said Obama. Among Israeli Arabs, Obama was the preferred candidate.

 

Yet the Obama administration has been supportive of Israel, after an initially hesitant period. It expressed itself in supplying military equipment, fighting the cyber war and broad strategic collaboration. This cooperation has been praised by Israel's senior leaders. The United States has also consistently supported Israel in the United Nations. Obama also personally intervened in the life-threatening situation for Israel's embassy personnel in Cairo during the Egyptian mob attack in September 2011.

 

Many of President Obama's actions have thus been supportive of Israel. One reason that they may not have had much effect upon Israeli Jews is his image as an internationally weak president, which is also very bad for Israel. Even if part of America's weakness is due to perception only, that translates into reality. It invites provocation by the US' enemies. One sees this in the posturing of Iranian leaders, the world's leading supporters of terrorism.

 

Also highly problematic is President Obama's view of the situation among radical Islamists. Steve Emerson's Investigative Project on Terrorism found that many known radical Muslims have made hundreds of visits to the Obama White House, meeting with top administration officials. To illustrate his basic attitude toward the Muslim world, one can analyze Obama's Cairo speech in 2009. Obama expressed apologetics and appeasement and understated the major criminality within the Muslim world.

 

Obama applied double standards through omissions of many important facts. He said that it was time to put a halt to Israeli settlements. He did not say, "It is time for Egypt and many other Muslim states to stop the murderous anti-Semitic incitement against Jews. This hate-mongering is also widely spread in Egyptian government media. It was equalled only by Nazi Germany." He did not say, "Stop the death penalty."

 

When he spoke about equality for women he did not say, "In many Muslim countries there are extreme cases of discrimination against women. This should be halted." Obama did not speak about the incitement against and persecution of Christians in a variety of Muslim countries. Nor did he say, "In the new century we have not seen any other terror attack on the scale of 9/11 which was driven by the religious conviction of major criminals."

 

Another omission was when he stated that civilization owed a debt to Al Azhar without mentioning prominent Muslim clerics who support suicide terrorism. When he spoke about the Palestinians, he said, "The Palestinian people – Muslims and Christians – have suffered in pursuit of a homeland." That statement contains many fallacies. The largest part of the Palestinian Mandate is Jordan, a state with a Palestinian majority. The Palestinians were granted a second state through a United Nations General Assembly resolution in 1947. Yet it was not good enough for them and their Arab allies. They preferred to start a war to attempt to massacre the Jews in what became Israel. Until 1967, they could have publicly asked their Arab "brethren" for a second state when the Palestinian territories were controlled by Jordan and Egypt.

 

After the Arab defeat in 1967, the Palestinians could have once again obtained a second state. Yet they preferred to continue their fight to eliminate Israel. While Obama didn't mention the suffering of Christians in Muslim lands, he did mention the suffering of Palestinian Christians, without stating that this was mainly caused by Palestinian Muslims.

 

Obama also said things about the Muslim world in Cairo which were closer to lies than to half-truths. To state that "in our times many Muslim communities have been in the forefront of innovation" does not reflect the reality of the Muslim world. Tiny Israel has won more Nobel prizes than all Muslims put together, while there are about two hundred times more Muslims than Israelis.

 

The only area where major innovation has emerged from the extremist parts of the Muslim world is 'creative terrorism.' In this framework the Palestinians have also made a substantial contribution in inventing new modes of terror. If there were a Nobel Prize for terrorism, top candidates would be Iran, Syria, Hezbollah, Hamas and various other Palestinian groupings as well as the initiators of 9/11.

 

It is probably due to Obama's attitude toward highly problematic extremist Islamists, the betrayal of long time political allies such as Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak and his perceived international weakness that a majority of Israeli Jews continue to feel uncomfortable with him as president. One wonders to what extent Obama has genuinely abandoned the appeasing and apologetic spirit he exhibited in Cairo, or whether much of it will re-appear if he is reelected.

 

Manfred Gerstenfeld is a member of the Board of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, of which he has been chairman for12 years.

 

Top of Page

 

 

 

THE UNITED STATES ELECTION:
A CRITICAL JUNCTURE FOR ISRAEL

Harold M. Waller

Israblog, November 6, 2012

 

When examining the presidential election campaign, it is tempting to focus on the polls, the debates, the television commercials, and the candidates’ speeches.  But from the perspective of most Israelis the dominant issue is very much more profound.  Not only is it about the Iranian nuclear threat, but it concerns thousands of years of Jewish history.  Jews as a people first lived in Eretz Yisrael over 3,000 years ago.  In addition to practicing what we now know as the Jewish religion, they established a political community that governed the land, albeit with interruptions, for over a millennium.  During that lengthy period, there were two national disasters that terminated the exercise of Jewish sovereignty, the destruction of the First Temple in 586 B.C.E., and the destruction of the Second Temple in 70 C.E.  The latter calamity led to an exile that lasted for nearly 2,000 years.

 

The reestablishment or reconstitution of Jewish sovereignty in Israel in 1948 is rightly seen as one of the major developments in Jewish history, which has led to the incredible flowering of Jewish life in all its dimensions.  There is no need to rehearse Israel’s accomplishments in 64 years of renewed sovereignty.  Rather it is essential to focus on the threat to the existence of that reconstituted Jewish state represented by Iran’s attempts to acquire nuclear weapons.  It is no exaggeration to assert that the emerging threat rivals the destructions of the two temples in historical significance and the Holocaust in terms of the threat to Jewish lives.

 

What does this rumination on Jewish history have to do with an American election?  The political and military reality today is that Israel is dependent to a large extent on American political and military support to respond to the threat from Iran.  This is not the occasion to examine the prospects of Israel’s “going it alone” vis-à-vis Iran.  But it is widely agreed that the prospects of eliminating Iran’s nuclear threat are much greater if the U.S. participates in any needed military action.  And given the pre-eminence of the president with respect to American foreign policy, the 2012 election is proving to hold great significance for Israel.

 

There is no suggestion here that the only way to deal with the Iranian threat is through military action.  Nevertheless the case can be made that sanctions and diplomatic pressure from well-intentioned Western countries will not be able to deflect the ayatollahs from their drive to harness nuclear energy for military purposes.  And of course the announced primary target is Israel, a state that has been demonized by the Iranian religious and governmental leadership for over 30 years.

 

Over a history that extends back even before 1948, Israelis have realized that although the use of military force should never be the first choice it is sometimes necessary and can achieve important national goals.  In the present circumstance there is no Israeli who wants to attack Iran’s nuclear program as a first choice.  Yet there are many who have come to the conclusion that such an attack is preferable to the alternative of sitting back and waiting for sanctions – even “crippling sanctions” – to work while Iran plows ahead to acquire nuclear weapons.  For following that would be a period in which reliance on deterrence would be the key to Israel’s security….         

 

In light of the foregoing, it is essential for Israel to have a U.S. administration that will back Israel vigorously and not undermine its position.  So from the perspective of supporters of Israel, the posture of the American political parties, members of Congress, and the president is a highly consequential consideration.

 

Prior to 1967 there was little doubt that the Democratic Party was more supportive of Israel than the Republican Party.  It was not just a matter of recalling the recognition of Israel by Democratic President Harry Truman in 1948.  It was also a matter of Republican President Dwight D. Eisenhower coming down hard on Israel after the 1956 Sinai Campaign, when he exerted extreme pressure on Israel to withdraw.  It was also Secretary of State John Foster Dulles’s lack of empathy for Israel’s situation.  Indeed on my first visit to Israel in 1960, the most common questions that I encountered were why Eisenhower and Dulles were treating us so shabbily. 

 

But 1967 proved to be a turning point.  Not only did Democratic President Lyndon B. Johnson fail to deliver on the promises of the Eisenhower Administration when Egypt provoked a crisis.  But after the Six Day War, a number of people on the left, shocked by Israel’s acquisition of territory, began to criticize Israel. The Democratic Administration did back Israel strongly at the UN Security Council when Resolution 242 was drafted.  But by 1972 the party was led by a presidential candidate who was lukewarm to Israel and whose foreign policy intentions were not helpful to Israel.  Furthermore the leftward turn of Democratic activists weakened their party’s support for Israel….

 

The apotheosis of this trend was apparent to all at the 2012 Democratic National Convention, when the platform omitted several key items from previous platforms that symbolized support for Israel.  Presumably such changes would have been cleared with the highest levels of the party structure.  In response to public pressure it was decided (presumably by the President) to reinstate a symbolic clause declaring Jerusalem to be the capital of Israel (which it is, regardless of what either party says). 

 

On a voice vote to reinstate that clause, a vote which had to be taken three times, most observers believed that the assembled delegates had not provided the required 2/3 majority and probably not even a simple majority.  When the Chair declared that the motion had carried, there was considerable booing in the hall.  What should a pro-Israel voter make of such a spectacle?

 

Of course the main focus has to be on the two candidates for president.  The problem is that one candidate, President Barack Obama, has a four-year foreign policy track record, while his opponent, Mitt Romney is running mainly on promises.  Therefore it is hard to judge what a Romney presidency might look like, but we certainly do know what an Obama presidency looks like. 

 

In the third debate of the campaign, President Obama stressed that he visited Israel in 2008, before the election (he has not been there since).  Yet his references to that trip focused on his visits to Yad Vashem and to Sderot.  Both of these represent stories about Jewish victimhood.  They are consistent with the president’s 2009 Cairo speech when he seemed to imply that the reason that Israel was created was because of Western guilt over the Holocaust.

 

There are two types of problems that arise with President Obama’s approach to Israel.  On the level of strategy or basic concepts, he does not appear to elevate Israel to as high a priority as many supporters of Israel would like.  Clearly he has been trying to curry favor with Arab and more broadly Muslim states, which led to his famous comment about putting daylight between the U.S. and Israel.  It might be inferred that he sees enthusiastic support for Israel as undermining his efforts to establish better ties in the Arab world.  On the other hand, he has generally been strongly supportive of close military and security ties between the U.S. and Israel.

 

Turning to tactics, Obama critics have compiled a long list of what they consider to be his failings.  One of the most complete compilations was published by Anne Bayefsky and contains over a dozen items.  Among them are the “daylight” comment, the introduction of the concept of a settlement freeze that has led to major stumbling blocks in Israel-Palestinian negotiations, the perceived personal insults to Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on various occasions, the suggestion that negotiations for a settlement of the status of the West Bank begin from the position of the 1949 armistice lines, which Israel regards as indefensible, and efforts to prevent Israel from taking action against Iran’s nuclear program.  It is fair to say that all of these incidents taken together appear to form a pattern that represents much less than enthusiastic support for Israel.

 

What about Mitt Romney?  As stated, we have little to go on here, aside from notoriously unreliable campaign rhetoric.  But it is worthwhile to point out that while his opponents have roundly criticized Romney for flip-flopping on a number of policy issues, his views on Israel have been rather consistent.  He shares Netanyahu’s view that the critical issue with respect to Iran is reaching nuclear capability, as opposed to the President’s stress on acquiring nuclear weapons.  As well, his desire to increase American influence in the region would be beneficial to Israel.…

 

Where does this leave an American voter for whom Israel is very important?  It depends on how one orders his or her priorities.  Those who put Israel’s well-being as their top priority are likely to lean toward Romney while those for whom Israel is third or fourth on the list might go either way, depending on the rest of the issues and their assessments of the candidates.  From what we know, most American Jews are likely to find manifold reasons to be inclined to support Obama.  Let us just remember that from Israel’s perspective this is not simply another presidential election.

 

(Harold Waller is a Canadian Institute for Jewish Research Fellow,

 and Professor of Political Science at McGill University, Montreal.)

 

Top of Page

 

 

 

I DIDN'T LEAVE THE DEMOCRATS. THEY LEFT ME

Sheldon G. Adelson

Wall Street Journal, November 4, 2012

 

When members of the Democratic Party booed the inclusion of God and Jerusalem in their party platform this year, I thought of my parents. They would have been astounded.  The immigrant family in which I grew up was, in the matter of politics, typical of the Jews of Boston in the 1930s and '40s. Of the two major parties, the Democrats were in those days the more supportive of Jewish causes.

 

Indeed, only liberal politicians campaigned in our underprivileged neighbourhood. Boston's Republicans, insofar as we knew them, were remote, wealthy elites ("Boston Brahmins"), some of whose fancy country clubs didn't accept Jews. It therefore went without saying that we were Democrats. Like most Jews around the country, being Democrat was part of our identity, as much a feature of our collective personality as our religion. So why did I leave the party?

 

My critics nowadays like to claim it's because I got wealthy or because I didn't want to pay taxes or because of some other conservative caricature. No, the truth is the Democratic Party has changed in ways that no longer fit with someone of my upbringing.

 

One obvious example is the party's new attitude toward Israel. A sobering Gallup poll from last March asked: "Are your sympathies more with the Israelis or more with the Palestinians?" Barely 53% of Democrats chose Israel, the sole liberal democracy in the region. By contrast, an overwhelming 78% of Republicans sympathized with Israel.

 

Nowhere was this change in Democratic sympathies more evident than in the chilling reaction on the floor of the Democratic convention in September when the question of Israel's capital came up for a vote. Anyone who witnessed the delegates' angry screaming and fist-shaking could see that far more is going on in the Democratic Party than mere opposition to citing Jerusalem in their platform. There is now a visceral anti-Israel movement among rank-and-file Democrats, a disturbing development that my parents' generation would not have ignored.

 

Another troubling change is that Democrats seem to have moved away from the immigrant values of my old neighbourhood—in particular, individual charity and neighbourliness. After studying tax data from the IRS, the nonpartisan Chronicle of Philanthropy recently reported that states that vote Republican are now far more generous to charities than those voting Democratic. In 2008, the seven least-generous states all voted for President Obama. My father, who kept a charity box for the poor in our house, would have frowned on this fact about modern Democrats….

 

Take, for example, President Obama's adopted home state. In October, a nonpartisan study of Illinois's finances by the State Budget Crisis Task Force offered painful evidence that liberal Illinois is suffering from abject economic, demographic and social decline. With the worst credit rating in the country, and with the second-biggest public debt per capita, the Prairie State "has been doing back flips on a high wire, without a net," according to the report.

 

Political scientist Walter Russell Mead summed up the sad results of these findings at The American Interest: "Illinois politicians, including the present president of the United States, have wrecked one of the country's potentially most prosperous and dynamic states, condemned millions of poor children to substandard education, failed to maintain vital infrastructure, choked business development and growth through unsustainable tax and regulatory policies—and still failed to appease the demands of the public sector unions and fee-seeking Wall Street crony capitalists who make billions off the state's distress."

 

At times, it seems almost as if President Obama wants to impose the failed Illinois model on the whole country. Each year of his presidency has produced unsustainable deficits, and he takes no responsibility for his spending. Worse still, unemployment has become chronic, and many Americans have given up on looking for work….

 

As a person who has been able to rise from poverty to affluence, and who has created jobs and work benefits for tens of thousands of families, I feel obligated to speak up and support the American ideals I grew up with—charity, self-reliance, accountability. These are the age-old virtues that help make our communities prosperous. Yet, sadly, the Democratic Party no longer seems to value them as it once did. That's why I switched parties, and why I'm now giving amply to Republicans.

 

Although I don't agree with every Republican position—I'm liberal on several social issues—there is enough common cause with the party for me to know I've made the right choice.  [It is] the political party that better supports liberal democracies like Israel, the party that better exemplifies the spirit of charity, and the party with economic policies that would certainly be better for those Americans now looking for work.

 

The Democratic Party just isn't what it used to be.

 

Mr. Adelson is an entrepreneur and philanthropist.

 

Top of Page

 

 

United States Debt Clock

 

Into the Fray: Obama, Islam and Israel: Martin Sherman, Jerusalem Post, Nov. 1, 2012

Can anyone with Obama’s perception of Islam be expected to take the measures necessary to contend with the danger this theo-tyrannical political doctrine presents?

 

The choice: Charles Krauthammer, Jerusalem Post, Nov. 5, 2012

“Ronald Reagan changed the trajectory of America in a way that Richard Nixon did not and in a way that Bill Clinton did not.” That was Barack Obama in 2008. And he was right. Reagan was an ideological inflection point, ending a 50-year liberal ascendancy and beginning a 30-year conservative ascendancy.

 

Canadians Have Love Affair With Obama, But Romney Is Better For Canada: Michael Den Tandt,

National Post, Nov 5, 2012

We love Barack Obama, don’t we? Canadians, I mean. Yes, we surely do. It’s because, as the U.S. president himself once said at one of those comedy roasts he handles so perfectly, he’s just “too awesome.” [But] a dispassionate look at the rival platforms clearly shows that an Obama win would be worse for Canada – significantly worse – than a Romney win.

 

If You Can’t Vote for Romney, Don’t Vote for Obama: Richard Landes, Augean Stables, Nov. 5, 2012

I think another four years of President Obama would seriously endanger the culture of openness, tolerance and productivity that has made our current age such an astonishing one in world history. I have felt like a witness to a self-destructive generation, bent on pursuing the mirages that John Lennon invited us to Imagine, no matter what the cost, no matter who we tried to reach by throwing off all our identity boundaries.

 

Congressional Candidates Against Israel: 2012.pdf: Jerrold L. Sobel,  Oct. 28, 2012

The above chart is a  spreadsheet of Congressional Representatives that have consistently either voted, written letters against, or were not in favor of resolutions concerning the state of Israel during the past 4 years of the 111th and 112th Congress.

 

 

Visit CIJR’s Bi-Weekly Webzine: Israzine.

CIJR’s ISRANET Daily Briefing is available by e-mail.
Please urge colleagues, friends, and family to visit our website for more information on our ISRANET series.
To join our distribution list, or to unsubscribe, visit us at http://www.isranet.org/.

The ISRANET Daily Briefing is a service of CIJR. We hope that you find it useful and that you will support it and our pro-Israel educational work by forwarding a minimum $90.00 tax-deductible contribution [please send a cheque or VISA/MasterCard information to CIJR (see cover page for address)]. All donations include a membership-subscription to our respected quarterly ISRAFAX print magazine, which will be mailed to your home.

CIJR’s ISRANET Daily Briefing attempts to convey a wide variety of opinions on Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish world for its readers’ educational and research purposes. Reprinted articles and documents express the opinions of their authors, and do not necessarily reflect the viewpoint of the Canadian Institute for Jewish Research.

 

 

Ber Lazarus, Publications Editor, Canadian Institute for Jewish ResearchL'institut Canadien de recherches sur le Judaïsme, www.isranet.org

Tel: (514) 486-5544 – Fax:(514) 486-8284 ; ber@isranet.org

CAN “COOL” OBAMA, GOVERNING FROM THE LEFT, WIN? OR WILL C.E.O. ROMNEY – ECONOMY, BENGHAZI, GOTV – BE 45TH PRESIDENT?

 

 

    ** NEW  ISRALERT  **

Weekly Political Video Analysis

With Professor F. krantz

 

 

International Conference

 

 

 

CIJR’S Latest ISRAZINE is
now available on line (isranet.org):

Israel's Levy Report:
Clarifying the Misconceptions

 

Contents:

 

 

 

 

How Far Obama Has FallenPeggy Noonan, Wall Street Journal, Nov. 2, 2012

No one knows what will happen. Maybe that means it will be close, and maybe it doesn't. Maybe a surprise is in store. But the fact that Barack Obama is fighting for his political life is still one of the great political stories of the modern era.

 

Why I Am Voting Republican: Daniel Pipes, National Review, Nov. 4, 2012

Note the title is not "Why I am voting for Mitt Romney." That's because the two major American parties, Democratic and Republican, represent contrasting outlooks and you vote for the one or other of them, not for a personality.

 

Why Romney Will Win: Fred Barnes, The Weekly Standard, Nov. 5, 2012

Mitt Romney will win.  The tie in the polls goes to the challenger. Here’s why: Enthusiasm. It matters enormously, and it’s disproportionately on the Republican side, in good measure because of an intense desire to defeat President Obama

 

Obama's Progressive Gamble: Editorial, Wall Street Journal, November 4, 2012

Mr. Obama has governed from the left not because he miscalculated his priorities but because these are his priorities. His first term is best understood as a race to put himself in the pantheon of the great progressive Presidents—Wilson, FDR, LBJ—who expanded the state's control over the private economy and over the wants and needs of the American middle class.

 

 

On Topic Links

 

 

Romney’s Closing Argument : John Hinderaker, Powerline Blog, November 2, 2012

Obama, the Virtual Challenger : Victor Davis Hanson, National Review, Nov.  5, 2012

Congressional Candidates Against Israel: 2012.pdfJerrold L. Sobel,  Oct. 28, 2012

Romney’s Military Advisory Council has more than 300 retired general officers : Josh Rogin, Foreign Policy, Oct. 17, 2012

Romney For President Announces Military Advisory CouncilMitt Romney Press, Oct. 17, 2012

Mud on his hands: Kyle Smith, New York Post, November 4, 2012

A Time for Choosing : Ross Douthat, The New York Times, November 3, 2012

Barack Obama Versus the Three Wild Cards: Rex Murphy, National Post, Nov 3, 2012

If You Can’t Vote for Romney, Don’t Vote for Obama: Richard Landes, Augean Stables, Nov. 05, 2012

 

 

HOW FAR OBAMA HAS FALLEN

 

Peggy Noonan

Wall Street Journal, November 2, 2012

 

So where are we? A softly catastrophic storm left us, in the Northeast, shocked at the depth and breadth of its power to destroy. Everyone who could be was hunkered down Monday waiting it out, and at first we hoped it might not be as bad as we'd been warned, because we'd all seen higher wind and harder rain. But the waters rose and wouldn't stop, breaching dunes,  overwhelming barriers, filling the tunnels and subways like a bathtub, as somebody said on TV. It was—is—a true crisis. So far, our political leaders have done pretty well. But the hard part will be from here on in—getting things up and operating again without the original adrenaline rush.

 

New York's mayor, Mike Bloomberg, was sterling—a solid, unruffled giver of information whose news conferences were blessedly free of theatrics save for his gifted sign-language interpreter, who wowed a city and left the young evacuees in my apartment furiously signing "Where's the coffee?" and "I think the baby needs to be changed." Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey was his usual compelling self, similarly informative. This is a man who knows a levee from a berm. He is one tough red-state player on a blue-state field. If Mitt Romney loses, will Mr. Christie garner Republican criticism for his hearty embrace of President Obama just days before the election? Yes, he will. Will it hurt him in Jersey? Not a bit. Will it help Jersey? Yes. They are cold and wet and running out of food in the house. Keep your friends close and your president closer.

 

The "I" of the storm was New York's Democratic governor, Andrew Cuomo. He was equally competent and effortful but took the mildly hectoring tone of a kind of leftism that is now old. It involves phrases like "As I've long said."I think this is the worst and I was appalled and when I was at HUD I handled storms and I learned a great deal and I saw we were prepared and I am relieved and I will work hard and I need you to know global warming is what I told you it was.”

 

The winning politicians of the future will not be all about I. People don't like it. They don't want to have to wade past the ego to the info.

 

Which gets us to Tuesday. No one knows what will happen. Maybe that means it will be close, and maybe it doesn't. Maybe a surprise is in store. But the fact that Barack Obama is fighting for his political life is still one of the great political stories of the modern era.

 

Look at where he started, placing his hand on the Bible Abe Lincoln was sworn in on in 1861. It was Jan. 20, 2009. The new president was 47 and in the kind of position politicians can only dream of—a historic figure walking in, the first African-American president, broadly backed by the American people. He won by 9.5 million votes. Two days after his inauguration, Gallup had him at 68% approval, only 12% disapproval. He had a Democratic Senate, and for a time a filibuster-proof 60 members. He had a Democratic House (256-178) with a colorful, energetic speaker. The mainstream media were excited about him, supportive of him. His political foes were demoralized, their party fractured.

 

He faced big problems—an economic crash, two wars—but those crises gave him broad latitude. All of his stars were perfectly aligned. He could do anything. And then it all changed. At a certain point he lost the room.

 

Books will be written about what happened, but early on the president made two terrible legislative decisions. The stimulus bill was a political disaster, and it wasn't the cost, it was the content. We were in crisis, losing jobs. People would have accepted high spending if it looked promising. But the stimulus was the same old same old, pure pork aimed at reliable constituencies. It would course through the economy with little effect. And it would not receive a single Republican vote in the House (three in the Senate), which was bad for Washington, bad for our politics. It was a catastrophic victory. It did say there was a new boss in town. But it also said the new boss was out of his league.

 

Then health care, a mistake beginning to end. The president's 14-month-long preoccupation with ObamaCare signaled that he did not share the urgency of people's most immediate concerns—jobs, the economy, all the coming fiscal cliffs. The famous 2,000-page bill added to their misery by adding to their fear.

 

Voters would have had to trust the president a lot to believe his program wouldn't raise their premiums, wouldn't limit their autonomy, wouldn't make a shaky system worse. But they didn't trust him that much, because they'd just met him. They didn't really know him. You have to build the kind of trust it takes to do something so all-encompassing.

 

And so began the resistance, the tea-party movement and the town-hall protests, full of alarmed independents and older Democrats. Both revived Republicans and, temporarily at least, reunited conservatives. Why did the president make such mistakes? Why did he make decisions that seemed so unknowing, and not only in retrospect?

 

Because he had so much confidence, he thought whatever he did would work. He thought he had "a gift," as he is said to have told Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. He thought he had a special ability to sway the American people, or so he suggested to House Speaker John Boehner and Majority Leader Eric Cantor.

 

But whenever he went over the heads of the media and Congress and went to the people, in prime-time addresses, it didn't really work. He did not have a magical ability to sway. And—oddly—he didn't seem to notice.  It is one thing to think you're Lebron. It's another thing to keep missing the basket and losing games and still think you're Lebron.

 

And that really was the problem: He had the confidence without the full capability. And he gathered around him friends and associates who adored him, who were themselves talented but maybe not quite big enough for the game they were in. They understood the Democratic Party, its facts and assumptions. But they weren't America-sized. They didn't get the country so well.

 

It is a mystery why the president didn't second-guess himself more, doubt himself. Instead he kept going forward as if it were working.  He doesn't do chastened. He didn't do what Bill Clinton learned to do, after he took a drubbing in 1994: Change course and prosper.

 

Mr. Obama may yet emerge victorious. There are, obviously, many factors in every race. Maybe, as one for instance, the seriousness of the storm has sharpened people's anxieties—there are no local crises anymore, a local disaster is a national disaster—so that anxiety will leave some people leaning toward the status quo, toward the known.

 

Or maybe, conversely, they'll think he failed to slow the oceans' rise. We'll know soon. Whatever happens, Mr. Obama will not own the room again as once he did. If he wins, we will see a different presidency—even more stasis, and political struggle—but not a different president.  

Top of Page

 


 

WHY I AM VOTING REPUBLICAN

 

Daniel Pipes

National Review, November 4, 2012

 

Note the title is not "Why I am voting for Mitt Romney." That's because the two major American parties, Democratic and Republican, represent contrasting outlooks and you vote for the one or other of them, not for a personality. The presidential candidate is captain of the team but its many other players act autonomously. The past half-century has seen a sharpening of the divide between the parties' philosophical consistency which I (unlike most observers) see as a positive development; who needs Rockefeller Republicans, wets, or RINOs? And ticket-splitting increases gridlock.

 

I vote Republican because I support the party's core message of individualism, patriotism, and respect for tradition, in contrast to the core Democratic message of dependence, self-criticism, and "progress." I am inspired by the original reading of the U.S. Constitution, by ideals of personal freedom and American exceptionalism. I vote for small government, for a return of power to the states, for a strong military, and an assertive pursuit of national interests.

 

And on my special issues, the Middle East and Islamism, Republicans consistently outperform Democrats. Extensive polling and many congressional actions establish this pattern for the Arab-Israeli conflict and a similar contrast exists also on other foreign policy issues, such as the Iranian nuclear buildup, energy policy, and the Arab upheavals. As for the new totalitarian ideology, Islamism, Democrats show a marked softness, just as they previously did vis-à-vis the communist one.

 

Finally, I worry that Barack Obama will do far more damage in a second term than he could in his first, that Obamacare will prove just the start of what, before his inauguration, I called the "fundamental restructuring of the relationship between state and society such as occurred under three of his Democratic predecessors of the past century – Woodrow Wilson, Franklin Roosevelt, and Lyndon Johnson."

 

And so I am voting the straight Republican ticket and urge readers to do likewise. 

 

Top of Page

 

 

 

WHY ROMNEY WILL WIN

Fred Barnes

The Weekly Standard, November 5, 2012

 

Mitt Romney will win.  The tie in the polls goes to the challenger. Here’s why:

 

Enthusiasm. It matters enormously, and it’s disproportionately on the Republican side, in good measure because of an intense desire to defeat President Obama. True, enthusiasm doesn’t guarantee an edge in turnout, but it’s certainly a key indicator. “In these final days, turnout is driven by intensity,” says Republican pollster Ed Goeas.  The nearly half the electorate that strongly disapproves of Obama’s performance in office “will need little else other than the opportunity to vote against President Obama to motivate them to go to their polling place.” Goeas conducts the bipartisan Battleground Poll along with Democrat Celinda Lake.

 

In 2008, self-identified Democrats led Republicans in turnout by seven percentage points.  Gallup’s projection is that Republicans will have a 49-46 percent edge this year.  “The political environment and the composition of the likely electorate strongly favor Governor Romney,” Goeas says.  The Battleground Poll’s “vote election model” projects Romney with 51 percent.

 

Ground game.  The Obama get-out-the-vote drive (GOTV) is not quite the powerful juggernaut it was in 2008 and the Republican effort is far better than four years ago.  The Republican National Committee isn’t alone this time.  Americans for Prosperity and a coalition of a dozen conservative groups—from the National Rifle Association to the Republican Jewish Coalition—have put together a massive GOTV effort focused on swing voters in key states. They’ve averaged 1.8 million phone calls per day in recent days….

 

Undecideds. Undecided voters are thought to vote disproportionately for the challenger over a sitting president.  In truth, there’s no empirical evidence for this widely acknowledged tendency. But to the extent it exists, it helps Romney. Goeas, for one, figures most still undecided voters simply won’t vote.

 

Indicators. Many point to a Romney win. He does well among “high-propensity-voting” blocs such as, in the Battleground Poll, seniors (54 percent), married voters (56 percent), weekly church attendees (59 percent), white evangelicals (79 percent), and gun owner householders (60 percent). He also leads among key demographic groups such as suburban voters (54 percent), Catholics (53 percent), and middle class voters (52 percent).  Obama has large leads among groups such as Hispanics with a lower propensity to vote. “If the president’s campaign is not able to replicate his 2008 electorate (which is looking increasingly unlikely), the president loses,” Goeas says.

 

Issues. The most important ones favor Romney: the economy, the deficit, and the debt. Independents, the demographic group most sensitive to these issues, went for Obama by eight percentage points in 2008. Now they’re tilting to Romney by roughly the same percentage.

 

Conclusion: Romney will be elected the 45th president of the United States.

 

Top of Page

 

 

 

 

OBAMA'S PROGRESSIVE GAMBLE

Editorial

Wall Street Journal, November 4, 2012

 

Many of our friends who saw genius in the crease of Barack Obama's trousers four years ago lament that he might be cruising to re-election had he only focused first on the economy and postponed his liberal social priorities. This may be true, but it also misjudges the man and his Presidency.

 

Mr. Obama has governed from the left not because he miscalculated his priorities but because these are his priorities. His first term is best understood as a race to put himself in the pantheon of the great progressive Presidents—Wilson, FDR, LBJ—who expanded the state's control over the private economy and over the wants and needs of the American middle class.

 

The price of this governing choice includes a weak recovery, achievements like ObamaCare that are unpopular, the loss of the House in 2010, and a polarized electorate. Unable to run on his record, he has conducted a low-down re-election campaign based on destroying his opponent's character. If the polls are right, even if he wins re-election, he will do so as the first President since Wilson to win with a smaller margin than he did the first time.

 

But for Mr. Obama, this won't matter. His great progressive gamble will have paid off. His second term will be about preserving the government gains of his first term, especially ObamaCare, and using regulation to press government control wherever else he can.

 

Rhetorically, the Barack Obama of 2008 was a centrist, a post-ideological pragmatist who was color blind to "red" and "blue" in his "one America." But anyone who inspected the policy details (see our editorial, "A Liberal Supermajority," October 17, 2008) could see he favored by far the most liberal program of any Democratic nominee since George McGovern in 1972.

 

This tendency came to the fore in his first days in the White House, when the Obamateers turned to fiscal policy. The popular President might have combined ideas from both parties, blending for instance a major corporate tax cut with public works spending for an easy political triumph.

 

"Elections have consequences," Mr. Obama instead told Republican Eric Cantor, "and Eric, I won." He then outsourced his agenda to Speaker Nancy Pelosi and aging left-wing committee chairmen like Henry Waxman and David Obey whose policy ambitions had been frustrated since the 1980s.

 

They did what comes naturally and wrote a bill that was all about transfer payments, temporary tax subsidies, green industrial policy, homeowner subsidies, 99 weeks of jobless benefits and all the rest. The spending bonanza benefited every Democratic interest group—except the Obama voters who wanted jobs and higher incomes.

 

The $830 billion might have been merely wasteful instead of destructive had Mr. Obama then turned to nurturing a durable expansion. The pre-eminent goal ought to have been to rebuild business and consumer confidence and encourage the revival of animal spirits.

 

Instead, with a filibuster-proof Senate of 60 Democrats, he began the Bataan death march to national health care — a new entitlement at a time when the current entitlement state is buckling and unaffordable. The Affordable Care Act is among the worst pieces of legislation ever passed, not least because Mr. Obama might have notched another bipartisan victory had he sought GOP input. When the bill ran into trouble with the public and even moderate Democrats, he plowed ahead anyway.

 

The health-care takeover was merely part of a larger liberal agenda that frightened investors as much as the events of 2008 and led to a hiring and capital strike. The missteps have been legion: the political bonfire over the AIG bonuses; overhauling the financial system from top to bottom, rather than a more considered approach; the regulatory surge, especially at the Environmental Protection Agency; punishing Chrysler bondholders for the benefit of the UAW; and through it all the promise to raise taxes in 2013….

 

Mr. Obama had numerous opportunities to see what was amiss politically and economically and correct his errors. There was the rise of the tea party and the summer 2009 popular rebellion against ObamaCare. Then Scott Brown's Massachusetts election. Even after Republicans gained 63 seats in 2010, Mr. Obama might have imitated Bill Clinton after 1994 and made real bows toward centrist governing.

 

But that is not who he is. After a two-year extension of the Bush tax rates after 2010, he made no budget concessions and assailed the Paul Ryan budget as literally anti-American. He personally blew up a grand bargain with Speaker John Boehner in the debt-limit fracas after spurning his own deficit commission.

 

All of these were deliberate political choices, part of his progressive gamble that it will all be worth it if he can win re-election. Higher taxes are already locked into place, ObamaCare's subsidies are ready to roll out, and the regulatory wave he has delayed past Election Day can recommence. He'll have put the government in such a dominant position that its new powers will take decades to roll back or reform.

 

Mr. Obama's trouser-crease admirers now say they hope Mr. Obama will emerge as a bigger man in his second term, and lately he has been using the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy to revive his postpartisan aura of 2008. But there is nothing—not one policy choice—in his first-term record to suggest this is anything but another ruse to attract independents.

 

In his more candid moments, Mr. Obama has said he wants to be the progressive version of Reagan, that his goal is "fundamentally transforming" America. If he's re-elected, that is what he will continue to try to do

 

Finally, I worry that Barack Obama will do far more damage in a second term than he could in his first, that Obamacare will prove just the start of what, before his inauguration, I called the "fundamental restructuring of the relationship between state and society such as occurred under three of his Democratic predecessors of the past century – Woodrow Wilson, Franklin Roosevelt, and Lyndon Johnson."

 

And so I am voting the straight Republican ticket and urge readers to do likewise. 

 

Top of Page

 

 

 

 

Romney’s Closing Argument : John Hinderaker, Powerline Blog, November 2, 2012

Today in Wisconsin, Mitt Romney delivered what his campaign calls his closing argument in support of his candidacy. It focused on the economy and featured Romney’s themes of change and optimism.

 

Obama, the Virtual Challenger : Victor Davis Hanson, National Review, Nov.  5, 2012

Obama has made no real attempt to defend much of what he has done in the last four years. It is as if his first term never existed — no 70 percent approval rating, no Democratic House, no Democratic Senate.

 

Congressional Candidates Against Israel: 2012.pdf : Jerrold L. Sobel,  Oct. 28, 2012

The above chart is a  spreadsheet of Congressional Representatives that have consistently either voted, written letters against, or were not in favor of resolutions concerning the state of Israel during the past 4 years of the 111th and 112th Congress.

 

Romney’s Military Advisory Council has more than 300 retired general officers: Josh Rogin, Foreign Policy, October 17, 2012

The Mitt Romney campaign announced Wednesday it has stood up a Military Advisory Council made up of more than 300 retired generals and admirals who are ready to do battle for the Republican nominee.

 

Romney For President Announces Military Advisory CouncilMitt Romney Press, Oct. 17, 2012

“I am deeply honored to have the support of so many of our most accomplished military leaders. I will never forget that the greatest responsibility of an American president is in exercising the role of commander-in-chief.

 

Mud on his hands: Kyle Smith, New York Post, Nov. 4, 2012

By downgrading its adulation, the country has let President Obama down, and the president, whose bizarre dislike for people was compared by one of his own aides to Bill Gates somehow achieving supremacy in the world of software without liking computers, can barely conceal his fury.

 

A Time for Choosing: Ross Douthat, New York Times, Nov. 3, 2012

Over the 40 years preceding Barack Obama’s first term in office, under Republican and Democratic presidents alike, the federal government claimed, on average, about 18 percent of America’s gross domestic product in taxes every year and spent slightly under 21 percent.

 

Barack Obama Versus the Three Wild Cards: Rex Murphy, National Post, Nov 3, 2012

Three events have put the American presidential election into real play. The first was Barack Obama’s non-performance during the opening presidential debate in Denver. The two other events are Hurricane Sandy, and the still-evolving controversy and possible scandal over the 9/11 tragedy at the Benghazi consulate.

 

If You Can’t Vote for Romney, Don’t Vote for Obama: Richard Landes, Augean Stables, November 05, 2012

I think another four years of President Obama would seriously endanger the culture of openness, tolerance and productivity that has made our current age such an astonishing one in world history. I have felt like a witness to a self-destructive generation, bent on pursuing the mirages that John Lennon invited us to Imagine, no matter what the cost, no matter who we tried to reach by throwing off all our identity boundaries.

 

 

 

Visit CIJR’s Bi-Weekly Webzine: Israzine.

CIJR’s ISRANET Daily Briefing is available by e-mail.
Please urge colleagues, friends, and family to visit our website for more information on our ISRANET series.
To join our distribution list, or to unsubscribe, visit us at http://www.isranet.org/.

The ISRANET Daily Briefing is a service of CIJR. We hope that you find it useful and that you will support it and our pro-Israel educational work by forwarding a minimum $90.00 tax-deductible contribution [please send a cheque or VISA/MasterCard information to CIJR (see cover page for address)]. All donations include a membership-subscription to our respected quarterly ISRAFAX print magazine, which will be mailed to your home.

CIJR’s ISRANET Daily Briefing attempts to convey a wide variety of opinions on Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish world for its readers’ educational and research purposes. Reprinted articles and documents express the opinions of their authors, and do not necessarily reflect the viewpoint of the Canadian Institute for Jewish Research.

 

 

Ber Lazarus, Publications Editor, Canadian Institute for Jewish ResearchL'institut Canadien de recherches sur le Judaïsme, www.isranet.org

Tel: (514) 486-5544 – Fax:(514) 486-8284 ; ber@isranet.org

95 YEARS AFTER BALFOUR DECLARATION, AS NOV. 6 LOOMS, ISRAEL, U.S FATES INTERTWINED

International Conference

 

 

CIJR’S Latest ISRAZINE is
now available on line (isranet.org):

Israel's Levy Report:
Clarifying the Misconceptions

 

Contents:

 

 

Happy Balfour Day!: Michael Freund, Jerusalem Post, Oct. 31, 2012

The creation of the Zionist state was neither a rogue act nor an unlawful deed. It was fully grounded in international law and approved by the nations of the world. Anyone who claims otherwise is simply twisting the truth.

 

An Election of Great Import for Israel: Isi Leibler, Jerusalem Post, Oct. 31, 2012

Next week’s US Presidential election will have major implications for the entire Western world, but in particular for Israel. It is also noteworthy that Israel and the Jews have never featured so prominently in a Presidential campaign.

 

Obama’s Campaign Goes Empty and Strident: George F. Will, Washington Post, October 31

Energetic in body but indolent in mind, Barack Obama in his frenetic campaigning for a second term is promising to replicate his first term, although simply apologizing would be appropriate

 

The Reagan Revolution is on the Line: Charles Krauthammer, National Post, Nov 2, 2012

Obama’s intention has always been to reverse ideological course, to be the anti-Reagan, the author of a new liberal ascendancy.

 

On Topic Links

 

 

Let My People Pray (on the Temple Mount): Maayana Miskin, Israel National News, Nov. 2, 2012

Former ‘Democrats Abroad’ Israel Chair: Join me in Voting for Romney, Rachel Hirshfeld, Israel National News, Oct. 31, 2012

Obama, Islam and Israel: Martin Sherman, Jerusalem Post, Nov. 1, 2012

Obama and The Politics of Contempt: Caroline B. Glick, Jerusalem Post, Nov. 1, 2012

 

 

 

HAPPY BALFOUR DAY!

Michael Freund

Jerusalem Post, October 31, 2012

 

Recent years have seen an intensified effort by Israel’s foes to demonize and delegitimize the Jewish state. From organizing flotillas to Gaza to pushing for boycotts and sanctions, these misguided militants have sought to rebrand Israel as a bellicose and aggressive nation.

 

Consisting of an increasingly strident chorus of Islamist radicals, Western anarchists and pro-Palestinian activists, they have made it their mission to besmirch Israel on college campuses, in the international press and at every available opportunity.

 

Not content with critiquing Israeli governmental policy, this knot of knaves has gone a step further, seeking to undermine the validity of Israel’s existence by portraying it as an illicit entity in the region. Left unanswered, these charges may begin to stick, further weakening Israel’s image abroad and damaging her standing worldwide. It is time for Israel to fight back and to wage a counteroffensive in the war of ideas.…

 

A good place to start would be to give the world a quick history lesson and remind them that we are here by right and not out of pity. After all, it was 95 years ago this week, on November 2, 1917, that the British government issued one of the most significant documents of the modern era – the Balfour Declaration – which reaffirmed the right of the Jewish people to renew their ancient Biblical homeland in Israel.

 

Written by foreign secretary Arthur James Balfour and approved by His Majesty’s government, the declaration stated clearly and unequivocally that Britain’s leaders “view with favor the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, and will use their best endeavors to facilitate the achievement of this object.”

 

Subsequently, when the League of Nations, the precursor to the United Nations, approved the Mandate for Palestine in July 1922, it formally incorporated the Balfour Declaration. In the preamble, it stated that, “the Principal Allied Powers have also agreed that the Mandatory should be responsible for putting into effect the declaration originally made on November 2nd, 1917, by the Government of His Britannic Majesty, and adopted by the said Powers, in favor of the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people.”

 

The Mandate, which was approved by more than 50 member nations, also noted “the historical connections of the Jewish people with Palestine.” In other words, Israel was later established with the full backing and support of the international community, and it was the Balfour Declaration which laid the conceptual groundwork for that to happen.

 

As Norman Bentwich, who served as the British-appointed attorney-general for mandatory Palestine, noted in his book, Mandate Memories, “The Balfour Declaration was not an impetuous or sentimental act of the British government, as has been sometimes represented, or a calculated measure of political warfare. It was a deliberate decision of British policy and idealist politics, weighed and reweighed, and adopted only after full consultation with the United States and with other Allied Nations.”

 

Hence, the creation of the Zionist state was neither a rogue act nor an unlawful deed. It was fully grounded in international law and approved by the nations of the world. Anyone who claims otherwise is simply twisting the truth.

 

And Balfour Day, the day it all began, therefore presents us with a wonderful opportunity to jog the world’s memory and silence those who say that we are sitting on stolen land. It is a day we should be celebrating as a seminal moment in Israel’s modern- day rebirth.

 

In case you think that the Balfour Declaration is little more than ancient history and that no one really cares about such things, think again. For a number of years, the Palestinians have been waging a campaign specifically targeting the Balfour Declaration which has included rallies, protests and even calls by Palestinian officials for an apology from Britain.

 

An October 24 report on Iran’s Press TV stated that a London-based Palestinian group is launching a crusade to compel the UK government to express regret for its “past atrocities starting with the Balfour Declaration.” Clearly, if the Palestinians deem it important enough to wage war against, the dusty old pages of the Balfour Declaration are still highly relevant.

 

And that is why it is imperative that we once again embrace Balfour Day each year and commemorate it as widely as possible. We must utilize this occasion to educate Jews and non-Jews alike regarding the justness of our cause, which far too many seem to have overlooked.

 

The battle over Israel’s legitimacy is well underway, and we must use every tool at our disposal to defend the truth. By restoring some historical consciousness and context to the dispute, we can even the playing field and make a better and more compelling case that Israel’s right to exist, regardless of what our critics might say, is not something that is open to debate.

Top of Page

 


 

 

AN ELECTION OF GREAT IMPORT FOR ISRAEL

Isi Leibler

Jerusalem Post, Oct. 31, 2012

 

Next week’s US presidential election will have major implications for the entire western world, but in particular for Israel. It is also noteworthy that Israel and the Jews have never featured so prominently in a presidential campaign. In last week’s debate on foreign policy between President Barack Obama and Governor Mitt Romney, both candidates competed to demonstrate their pro-Israel credentials and the Jewish state was mentioned no less than 34 times.

 

Until six weeks ago there was an emerging consensus shared by supporters and opponents alike, that Romney had failed to make an impact and that Obama would be re-elected. Yet since the first dramatic debate, the upsurge in support for Romney has been extraordinary, and if the polls reflect reality, the outcome could be a real cliff-hanger.

 

Of course, opinion polls can be misleading. The complexity of the Electoral College voting system does not necessarily grant victory to the candidate receiving the majority of votes. The even more critical factor is whether those who actually vote will proportionately adhere to the same trends as those initially polled.

 

Not surprisingly, many Israelis will be hoping for a Romney win. Despite Obama’s ongoing commitment to providing Israel with military aid and his more recent positive policies towards Israel, it is no secret that he personally loathes Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu.

 

Most Israelis are fearful that if re-elected, no longer needing a charm offensive to garner Jewish support, Obama is likely to repeat the pattern of his first term when he unashamedly reneged on many of his previous undertakings towards Israel.

 

They are concerned that he will revert to his earlier policy of “adopting daylight between Israel and the US” and will renew pressure on the Jewish state to make further unilateral concessions towards the Palestinians. There is fear that he will again insist that the indefensible 1949 armistice lines be considered as the opening benchmark for negotiating borders and will also press for the division of Jerusalem.

 

Romney, in contrast, enjoys a cordial personal relationship with Netanyahu. More importantly he also seems to display a far more positive attitude towards the Jewish state. One of his major criticisms of the administration’s foreign policy has been Obama’s alleged abandonment and continuous public chastisement and humiliation of Israel.

 

Whereas Obama blames Israeli settlement policies – including home construction in east Jerusalem’s Jewish suburbs – for the impasse with the Palestinians, Romney says plainly that peace will be unattainable until the Palestinians genuinely abandon their objective of destroying the Jewish state.

 

As to Iran, notwithstanding undertakings to do all that is necessary to prevent them from becoming a nuclear power, should sanctions fail to bring about tangible results there are grave doubts as to whether Obama would be willing to take the tough measures required. However, should Romney be elected, while presumably providing notice of tougher intentions, during his first months in office he too would be unlikely to immediately initiate drastic military action.

 

There is a vast chasm between the approaches of both candidates in relation to the Arab world, which is increasingly falling under more extreme Islamic and jihadist influences and where use of the terms Islamic extremism or Islamic terrorism are even banned.

 

Despite having eliminated Osama bin Laden, the Obama administration has, as a matter of course, appeased Islamists by initially resisting sanctions and failing to support the Iranian dissidents seeking regime change.

 

Shortly after taking office, Obama infuriated the Mubarak government by legitimizing the Muslim Brotherhood when he insisted that their representatives occupy the front row at his inaugural speech in Cairo. Furthermore, at the outset of protests in Egypt, he abandoned the authoritarian President Hosni Mubarak, regarded as one of the strongest US allies in the Arab world.

 

Since then, his administration has consistently understated the fanatical extremism of the Muslim Brotherhood and ignored the recent genocidal exhortations against Israel by their newly elected Egyptian leader. The groveling response to the terrorist upsurges in Libya and Egypt is another indicator of the administration’s policy of Islamic appeasement.

 

Obama also repeatedly publicly praised the dictatorial Islamist Turkish leader, Recep Erdogan, who made himself popular in the Arab world by his anti-Israeli tirades and efforts to impose boycotts and isolate the Jewish state. Yet, after four years in office, despite President Obama’s desperate efforts to appease and “engage” the Islamists, the US today is more reviled in the Arab world than ever before.

 

The perception amongst most Israelis is that a Romney administration would be more realistic and tougher towards the Islamists. However, in contrast, the majority of American Jews, clearly loath to forfeit their liberal DNA, still support Obama and will continue voting Democrat…

 

If…Obama is re-elected, Netanyahu will be obliged to try to overcome the personal animosity and work with him, without compromising Israel’s security or long-term strategic interests. This will not be easy but as long as grass roots support for Israel remains strong and Congress does not abandon us, it is possible….

 

And if Romney wins, Israelis should not be euphoric. Although Romney will undoubtedly have a better chemistry with Israel than his predecessor, we still face tough challenges. And we should bear in mind that whereas Romney is undoubtedly a friend, the track records of Republican presidents toward Israel has also often been problematic. Irrespective who becomes the next president of the USA, American Jewish leaders must seek to reverse the growing threat from the far Left anti-Israeli activists in the Democratic party and…maintain the strong US-Israel relationship. 

 

Top of Page

 

 

 

OBAMA’S CAMPAIGN GOES EMPTY AND STRIDENT

George F. Will

Washington Post, October 31

 

“It is a great advantage to a president, and a major source of safety to the country, for him to know he is not a great man.” — Calvin Coolidge

 

Energetic in body but indolent in mind, Barack Obama in his frenetic campaigning for a second term is promising to replicate his first term, although simply apologizing would be appropriate. His long campaign’s bilious tone — scurrilities about Mitt Romney as a monster of, at best, callous indifference; adolescent japes about “Romnesia” — is discordant coming from someone who has favorably compared his achievements to those of “any president” since Lincoln, with the “possible” exceptions of Lincoln, LBJ and FDR. Obama’s oceanic self-esteem — no deficit there — may explain why he seems to smolder with resentment that he must actually ask for a second term….

 

Two economic themes of Obama’s campaign have been that outsourcing jobs is sinful and that he saved GM, which assembles 70 percent of its vehicles on lines outside America. He thinks that ATMs and airport ticket kiosks cause unemployment but may understand that buying an iPhone involves outsourcing to China the jobs of assembling it. Although his campaign slogan is “Forward!” he evidently wants America to compete with China in the manufacture of T-shirts and toasters. His third economic theme — that he will “invest in” (spend on) this and that — has been inaudible amid the clatter of crashing companies he has invested in.

 

Much of the Democratic Party’s vast reservoir of condescension is currently focused on women, who are urged not to trouble their pretty little heads about actual problems but instead to worry that, 52 years after birth control pills went on the market and 47 years after access to contraception became a constitutional right, reproductive freedom is at risk. This insult may explain the shift of women toward Romney.

 

’Tis said two things not worth running after are a bus or an economic panacea, because another will come along soon. Obama’s panacea is to cure what he considers government’s unconscionable frugality. Nothing in the president’s campaign has betrayed an inkling that anything pertinent to Social Security or Medicare has changed since they were enacted 77 years and 47 years ago, respectively.

 

Four years ago, Obama said that he would slow the oceans’ rise but this year has not sought a mandate to cope with — he has barely mentioned — the supposedly onrushing calamity of climate change. He says that this emergency (like everything else) justifies giving government huge new dollops of power, yet our Demosthenes evidently despairs of persuading the benighted public. (See above: condescension.)

 

His only notable new idea in this campaign is to alter the First Amendment in order to empower government to restrict the amount of permissible political speech — speech about the composition and conduct of government. Nancy Pelosi pledges that if Democrats control the House, they will pass this constriction of the Bill of Rights on the first day.

 

All politicians are to some extent salesmen. But Obama…increasingly resembles a particular salesman, Arthur Miller’s Willy Loman: “For a salesman, there is no rock bottom to the life. He don’t put a bolt to a nut, he don’t tell you the law or give you medicine. He’s a man way out there in the blue, riding on a smile and a shoeshine. And when they start not smiling back — that’s an earthquake.”

 

Why the empty stridency of the last days of Obama’s last campaign? Perhaps he feels an earthquake’s first tremors.

The angst most Israelis is that a Romney administration would be more realistic and tougher towards the Islamists. However, in contrast, the majority of American Jews, clearly loath to forfeit their liberal DNA, still support Obama and will continue voting Democrat…

 

 

If…Obama is re-elected, Netanyahu will be obliged to try to overcome the personal animosity and work with him, without compromising Israel’s security or long-term strategic interests. This will not be easy but as long as grass roots support for Israel remains strong and Congress does not abandon us, it is possible….

 

And if Romney wins, Israelis should not be euphoric. Although Romney will undoubtedly have a better chemistry with Israel than his predecessor, we still face tough challenges. And we should bear in mind that whereas Romney is undoubtedly a friend, the track records of Republican presidents toward Israel has also often been problematic. Irrespective who becomes the next president of the USA, American Jewish leaders must seek to reverse the growing threat from the far Left anti-Israeli activists in the Democratic party and…maintain the strong US-Israel relationship. 

Top of Page

 

 

 

THE REAGAN REVOLUTION IS ON THE LINE

Charles Krauthammer

National Post, Nov 2, 2012

 

“Ronald Reagan changed the trajectory of America in a way that Richard Nixon did not and in a way that Bill Clinton did not.” That was Barack Obama in 2008. And he was right. Reagan was an ideological inflection point, ending a 50-year liberal ascendancy and beginning a 30-year conservative ascendancy.

 

It is common for one party to take control and enact its ideological agenda. Ascendancy, however, occurs only when the opposition inevitably regains power and then proceeds to accept the basic premises of the preceding revolution. Thus, Republicans railed for 20 years against the New Deal. Yet when they regained the White House in 1953, they kept the New Deal intact.

 

And when Nixon followed LBJ’s Great Society — liberalism’s second wave — he didn’t repeal it. He actually expanded it. Nixon created the Environmental Protection Agency, gave teeth to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and institutionalized affirmative action — major adornments of contemporary liberalism.

 

Until Reagan. Ten minutes into his presidency, Reagan declared that “government is not the solution to our problem, government is the problem.” Having thus rhetorically rejected the very premise of the New Deal/Great Society, he set about attacking its foundations — with radical tax reduction, major deregulation, a frontal challenge to unionism (breaking the air traffic controllers for striking illegally) and an (only partially successful) attempt at restraining government growth.

 

Reaganism’s ascendancy was confirmed when the other guys came to power and their leader, Bill Clinton, declared (in his 1996 State of the Union address) that “the era of big government is over” — and then abolished welfare, the centerpiece “relief” program of modern liberalism. In Britain, the same phenomenon: Tony Blair did to Thatcherism what Clinton did to Reaganism. He made it the norm.

 

Obama’s intention has always been to re-normalize, to reverse ideological course, to be the anti-Reagan — the author of a new liberal ascendancy. Nor did he hide his ambition. In his February 2009 address to Congress he declared his intention to transform America. This was no abstraction. He would do it in three areas: health care, education and energy.

 

Think about that. Health care is one-sixth of the economy. Education is the future. And energy is the lifeblood of any advanced democracy — control pricing and production and you’ve controlled the industrial economy.

 

And it wasn’t just rhetoric. He enacted liberalism’s holy grail: the nationalization of health care. His $830-billion stimulus, by far the largest spending bill in U.S. history, massively injected government into the free market — lavishing immense amounts of tax dollars on favored companies and industries in a naked display of industrial policy.

 

And what Obama failed to pass through Congress, he enacted unilaterally by executive action. He could not pass cap-and-trade, but his EPA is killing coal. (No new coal-fired power plant would ever be built.) In 2006, liberals failed legislatively to gut welfare’s work requirement. Obama’s new HHS regulation does that by fiat. Continued in a second term, it would abolish welfare reform as we know it — just as in a second term, natural gas will follow coal, as Obama’s EPA regulates fracking into non-competitiveness.

 

Government grows in size and power as the individual shrinks into dependency. Until the tipping point where dependency becomes the new norm — as it is in Europe, where even minor retrenchment of the entitlement state has led to despair and, for the more energetic, rioting. An Obama second term means that the movement toward European-style social democracy continues, in part by legislation, in part by executive decree.

 

The American experiment — the more individualistic, energetic, innovative, risk-taking model of democratic governance — continues to recede, yielding to the supervised life of the entitlement state. If Obama loses, however, his presidency becomes a historical parenthesis, a passing interlude of overreaching hyper-liberalism, rejected by a center-right country that is 80 percent non-liberal….

 

Every four years we are told that the coming election is the most important of one’s life. This time it might actually be true. At stake is the relation between citizen and state, the very nature of American social contract.

 

Top of Page

 

 

 

Let My People Pray :Maayana Miskin, Israel National News, Nov. 2, 2012

 

Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat has come out against the ongoing discrimination against Jews on the Temple Mount. Jews are prohibited to pray on the Mount, which is the holiest place in the world according to Judaism, and many have even been arrested for moving their lips at the site.

 

Former ‘Democrats Abroad’ Israel Chair: Join Me in Voting for Romney: Rachel Hirshfeld, Israel National News, Oct. 31, 2012

“Forget that you voted for democrats since you’ve been knee high to a grasshopper. I did too,” says Bryna Franklin, lifelong Democrat.

 

Obama, Islam and Israel: Martin Sherman, Jerusalem Post, Nov. 1, 2012

Can anyone with Obama’s perception of Islam be expected to take the measures necessary to contend with the danger this theo-tyrannical political doctrine presents?

 

Obama And The Politics Of Contempt : Caroline B. Glick, Jerusalem Post, Nov. 1, 2012

Women will vote for him because we are dimwitted sex objects. And Jews will vote for him because we are taken in by his occasional Borscht Belt schmaltz platitudes about Hanukka.

 

 

 

Visit CIJR’s Bi-Weekly Webzine: Israzine.

CIJR’s ISRANET Daily Briefing is available by e-mail.
Please urge colleagues, friends, and family to visit our website for more information on our ISRANET series.
To join our distribution list, or to unsubscribe, visit us at http://www.isranet.org/.

The ISRANET Daily Briefing is a service of CIJR. We hope that you find it useful and that you will support it and our pro-Israel educational work by forwarding a minimum $90.00 tax-deductible contribution [please send a cheque or VISA/MasterCard information to CIJR (see cover page for address)]. All donations include a membership-subscription to our respected quarterly ISRAFAX print magazine, which will be mailed to your home.

CIJR’s ISRANET Daily Briefing attempts to convey a wide variety of opinions on Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish world for its readers’ educational and research purposes. Reprinted articles and documents express the opinions of their authors, and do not necessarily reflect the viewpoint of the Canadian Institute for Jewish Research.

 

 

Ber Lazarus, Publications Editor, Canadian Institute for Jewish ResearchL'institut Canadien de recherches sur le Judaïsme, www.isranet.org

Tel: (514) 486-5544 – Fax:(514) 486-8284 ; ber@isranet.org

“FORWARNED”, NOT “FORWARD” – ROMNEY SOFTENS ATTACK AS OBAMA’S “COOL FACTOR” FADES

International Conference

 

 

CIJR’S Latest ISRAZINE is
now available on line (isranet.org):

Israel's Levy Report:
Clarifying the Misconceptions

 

Contents:

 

Cool Factor Fades as Independents Flee Obama: Victor Davis Hanson, Real Clear Politics, Nov. 1, 2012

 

In 2008, Barack "No Drama" Obama was the coolest presidential candidate America had ever seen — young, hip, Ivy League, mellifluous and black, with a melodic and exotic name. Four years of governance later, the huge crowds have mostly melted away. Those still left do not faint.

 

Health Care Law May Be Obama's Downfall: Michael Gerson, Real Clear Politics, Oct. 30, 2012

 

Obamacare matters in the current election not only because its future is at stake but for what its passage tells us about Obama as a leader.

 

In Final Days of Race, Romney Takes a Softer Tack: Michael Barbaro, New York Times, Oct. 31, 2012

 

As elections near, candidates change in ways big and small. Mr. Romney’s 20-minute stump speech in the final stretch is a case study in such modulation, offering a stark illustration of his long journey from the partisanship of the Republican nominating contest toward the measured and less controversial middle of American politics.

 

On Topic Links

 

Obama’s Campaign Goes Empty and Strident: George F. Will, Washington Post, Oct. 31, 2012

Vote for Romney: Editorial, The Washington Times, Oct. 31, 2012

Obama’s Israel Trust Gap: Matt Abelson, Times of Israel, Oct. 31, 2012

The Pro-Islamist Obama Administration: A Case Study in Syria: Barry Rubin, PJ Media, Nov. 1, 2012

 

 

COOL FACTOR FADES AS INDEPENDENTS FLEE OBAMA

Victor Davis Hanson

Real clear Politics, November 1, 2012

 

In 2008, Barack "No Drama" Obama was the coolest presidential candidate America had ever seen — young, hip, Ivy League, mellifluous and black, with a melodic and exotic name. Rock stars vied to perform at his massive rallies, where Obama often began his hope-and-change sermons by reminding the teary-eyed audience what to do in case of mass fainting.

 

Money, like manna from heaven, seemed to drop spontaneously into his $1 billion campaign coffers. Ecstatic Hollywood stars were rendered near speechless at the thought of Obama's promised Big Rock Candy Mountain to come — peace, harmony, prosperity and "5 million new jobs" in renewable energy alone.

 

Even the cynical Europeans went crazy over his anti-George W. Bush candidacy, one gussied up with faux-Greek columns and Latin presidential mottoes. Huge rainbow-colored Obama signs sprouted like weeds on America's upscale suburban lawns, and hip-hoppers rapped out Obama themes. All of America, it seemed, wanted to believe in this largely unknown newcomer.

 

The giddy media declared Obama a "sort of god," and "the smartest man with the highest IQ" ever to assume the presidency. Somehow, even legs got into the hero worship, as pundits praised the sight of Obama's "perfectly creased pant," and one commentator felt "this thrill going up my leg" when Obama spoke.

 

And why not, when the soft-spoken, adaptable African-American candidate preached civility and visions of a postracial America — changing his speech from a white suburban patois to Southern black evangelical cadences as needed to woo widely diverse audiences.

 

Obama, the most partisan member of the U.S. Senate, promised a new post-political nonpartisanship. Almost by fiat, he declared an end to big debts, corruption, lobbyists, wars, unpopular American foreign policies and unlawful antiterrorism protocols — almost everything that had predated the presidency of Barack Hussein Obama. Four years of governance later, the huge crowds have mostly melted away. Those still left do not faint. The columns are in storage. The Latinate "Vero Possumus" is not even voiced in English.

 

Instead of "no red states or blue states" healing rhetoric, Obama has sown all sorts of needless divisions in hopes of cobbling together a thin us-versus-them coalition, as independents flee. The 99 percent claim oppression by the 1 percent. Young single female professionals are supposedly at war with Republican Neanderthals. Beleaguered gays apparently must fight the bigotry of the homophobic right wing. Greens should go on the offensive against conservative polluters who are OK with dirty air and water. Latinos must "punish our enemies" at the polls, and Attorney General Eric Holder's "my people" are to be set against "a nation of cowards." With all the advantages of incumbency and an obsequious media, why is Barack Obama reduced to stooping to save his campaign?

 

A dismal economy, of course, explains voter discontent. So do the contradictory and illogical explanations about the recent killing of a U.S. ambassador and three other Americans in Libya. Mitt Romney is also proving a far better campaigner than were prior so-so Obama opponents like Hillary Clinton and John McCain. Obama's first debate was a disaster.

 

A more worldly Obama no longer talks of cooling the planet or lowering the rising seas. Barely even with challenger Mitt Romney in the polls, he now alternates between the crude and the trivial in a campaign that in its shrillness on the stump evokes the last desperate days of failed incumbents like Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter and George H.W. Bush.

 

Obama blasts Romney as a "bullsh–ter," and releases an ad in which a starlet compares voting for him to her first sexual experience. When Obama is not crude, he is adolescent — as he references Big Bird, plays word games like "Romnesia" and ridicules Romney for his "binders" debate remark.

 

The greatest problem facing Obama, however, is not just his mediocre record of governance, but the growing public perception that he is as uncool in 2012 as he was cool in 2008. Voters no longer feel they're square for voting against Obama. Instead, it's becoming the "in" thing to shrug that enough is enough.

 

A common theme of classic American tales such as "The Rainmaker," "Elmer Gantry," "The Music Man" and "The Wizard of Oz" is popular anger unleashed at Pied Piper-like messiahs who once hypnotized the masses with promises of grandeur. The bamboozled people rarely fault their own gullibility for swooning over hope-and-change banalities, but rather, once sober, turn with fury on the itinerant messiahs who made them look so foolish.

 

In other words, it is not just the economy, foreign policy, poor debating skills or a so-so campaign that now plagues Obama, but the growing public perception that voters were had in 2008, and that it now is OK — even cool — to no longer believe in him. 

 

Top of Page

 


 

HEALTH CARE LAW MAY BE OBAMA'S DOWNFALL

Michael Gerson

Real Clear Politics, October 30, 2012

 

If Barack Obama loses his bid for re-election, the main reason can be traced to one period of time and one choice.  In late 2009, both the Democratic House and Senate had passed health reform legislation and were proceeding with reconciliation talks. But in January 2010, Democrats lost Ted Kennedy's Massachusetts Senate seat — as well as their filibuster-proof Senate majority — in a protest against Obamacare. It was a remarkable revolt, in the bluest of states.

 

"If there isn't any recognition that we got the message and we are trying to recalibrate and do things differently," Rep Anthony Weiner, D-N.Y., said at the time, "we are not only going to risk looking ignorant but arrogant." Rep. Eric Cantor, R-Va., predicted that if the Obama team pushed through a final health bill along party lines, they would "lose their majority in Congress in November." The concerns of some on the Obama team actually preceded the Massachusetts debacle. Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel had argued for a more incremental approach to health reform. "I begged him not to do this," he later recalled.

 

The president went ahead, saying "I feel lucky." In March of 2010, Obamacare was passed without a serious recalibration or a single Republican vote. This choice unleashed a cascade of effects. Obama placed a highly ideological debate on the size and role of government at the center of American politics. He contributed to extreme polarization in Congress and the public. He exhausted his political capital on an issue that had little to do with the immediate economic crisis faced by the country. He invited the backlash midterm election of 2010 — including the loss of 63 Democratic House seats — which effectively ended the creative period of his presidency.

 

Obama achieved all of this with a quick, dirty legislative shove that further discredited the political process. The final bill was passed through a manoeuvre — the reconciliation process — that embittered opponents and assured that a future GOP majority will engage in retribution. The final votes were secured through federal promises to states that smacked of bribery. "I think that the manner in which the health care reform was put in front of the Congress, the way that the issue was dealt with by the White House, cost Obama a lot of credibility as a leader," says retiring Sen. Jim Webb, D-Va.

 

In claiming victory following passage of the bill, Obama said, "This is what change looks like." Which was precisely the problem. Change came in the form of a law that a plurality of Americans opposed, at a time when other issues were more urgent, by methods that disgraced its advocates. "I think we paid a terrible price for health care," retiring Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass., recently concluded.

 

The evidence is found in the current campaign. Obama's signature legislative accomplishment is a relatively minor theme of his re-election effort. It is hard to crow about a law that presidential scholar George Edwards calls "perhaps the least popular major domestic policy passed in the last century." So Obama's closing argument on health care is mainly a divisive, unqualified defense of abortion rights.

 

Obamacare matters in the current election not only because its future is at stake but for what its passage tells us about Obama as a leader. He is stubborn, which can be an admirable trait when applied to the public interest. But on health care reform, Obama combined stubbornness with ideological predictability and partisan ruthlessness — imposing a very conventional liberalism in the Chicago way.

 

Obama tends to overestimate his own negotiating skills with Congress, which are poor — also displayed in his failed attempt to achieve a grand budget compromise in 2011. When the ideological stakes are highest, Obama jettisons bipartisanship with little thought or regret. He was perfectly willing to reorganize one-sixth of the economy on a party-line vote. His has employed tactics that ensure future partisan bitterness. His persuasive powers on the issue of health care turned out to be limited. The more he spoke, the less public support he found. But he proved incapable of creative ideological readjustment.

 

Obama's largest achievement turned out to be a self-indictment. He has not shown the leadership skills or the inclination to create consensus around large issues. The problem is that large issues — avoiding the fiscal cliff, reforming the tax code, making entitlement commitments more sustainable — are coming. Either Obama will have to become an entirely different type of leader — or America needs a new one

 

Top of Page

 

 

IN DWINDLING DAYS OF THE RACE,

ROMNEY TAKES A SOFTER TACK

Michael Barbaro

New York Times, October 31, 2012

 

Mitt Romney used to talk up the “crucial” importance of having two parents in the home, saying “a mom and dad together” have a big impact. But over the past week, he has been extolling the virtues of single mothers at every turn, holding them out as examples of Americans “living for something bigger than themselves.”

 

An excerpt of a recent stump speech by Mitt Romney shows the pivot his campaign has taken in the final weeks leading up to Election Day. Mr. Romney once delivered partisan-tinged zingers about how President Obama takes inspiration from socialist Democrats in Europe. There are no traces of such barbs in the dwindling days of the race, however, even as a devastating storm buffeted the campaign and much of the country. Instead, he promises to make frequent and personal outreach to the rival party a signature of a Romney presidency.  “Democrats,” he says, “love America, too.”

 

As elections near, candidates change in ways big and small. Mr. Romney’s 20-minute stump speech in the final stretch is a case study in such modulation, offering a stark illustration of his long journey from the partisanship of the Republican nominating contest toward the measured and less controversial middle of American politics.

 

It is a speech, revised and refined over time, that offers sometimes vivid contrasts with the words, messages and style that Mr. Romney has employed at various stages of his two-year presidential campaign….

 

There are plenty of carry-overs, of course: he dings President Obama’s health care law as cumbersome and bemoans the size of the federal debt as immoral, as he has since 2011, when he entered the race. But even if the extent of the evolution is up for argument, there is little debate that Mr. Romney is finishing the presidential campaign as a milder candidate than when he started….

 

Crowds are riveted during Mr. Romney’s rhetorical finale, in growing numbers: 4,000 in Kissimmee, Fla.; 12,000 in Defiance, Ohio; 15,000 in Land O’ Lakes, Fla. They cheer for his conspicuous talk of bipartisanship, his praise for judicious regulation and his personal stories, which he used to studiously avoid but now tumble off his lips with ease.

 

Several times a day, Mr. Romney talks about his sister Lynn, a widow, and her 43-year-old son, Jeffrey, who has Down syndrome. “I think of Lynn as a hero of mine because she has given herself to that boy,” he says, as the audience becomes quiet. “Given him a full life, takes him to work, makes his life fulfilling.” He pauses. “She lives for her son.” The audience thunders, drowning him out.

 

Emily Bores of Avon, Ohio, sat in rapt attention on Monday. “That story is familiar to anyone who has ever been touched by tragedy,” Ms. Bores said. “He shares a piece of everyone’s heart by having that experience so close to his own.”

 

Lately, Mr. Romney cannot stop talking about how much he wants to work with Democrats. “I will meet regularly with Democrats in Washington, with their leaders, and my party’s leaders, and battle together to find ways to help the American people,” he said a few days ago….

 

At the Conservative Political Action Conference in early 2012, Mr. Romney emphasized, “I fought against long odds in a deep blue state, but I was a severely conservative Republican governor. I have been on the front lines and I expect to be on the front lines again.” These days, when Mr. Romney talks about his record in Massachusetts, it is not as a deeply conservative governor, but as a leader who welcomed communication and compromise. “I knew from the very beginning, to get anything done I had to reach across the aisle,” Mr. Romney said on Monday.

 

Sitting in the audience, Carla Dickard, 61, said she was drawn to Mr. Romney’s put-down-the-pitchforks message. “It wasn’t always like this, everyone so divided like they are,” she said. Ms. Dickard views Mr. Obama as overly partisan, setting off the birth of the Tea Party. Mr. Romney, by contrast, she said, “seems to understand that we won’t get anything done unless we work together.”…

 

Mr. Romney still builds a forceful case against the president. But he is noticeably gentler. Gone are the accusations that Mr. Romney made during the primary race: that Mr. Obama does not understand what makes America “such a unique nation,” that he is trying to redistribute wealth or that he “takes his political inspiration from Europe, from the socialist-democrats in Europe.” Instead, Mr. Romney is attacking the president largely on substance and policy.

 

To college students: “Because the president has been spending about a $1 trillion more every year in this country than we are taking in, he is putting debt on you that you didn’t even know about. Each man, woman and child in this country has about $50,000 worth of government debt.”

 

To the elderly: “If you happen to get sick and you need to see a specialist, if Obamacare gets installed and you call,” Mr. Romney said in the last week, “the receptionist is likely to tell you that the doctor isn’t taking any more Medicare patients.”…

 

Still, Mr. Romney gets in a few pointed jabs. His favorite centers on the president’s campaign slogan, “Forward!” “The president says ‘Forward.’ I call it forewarned,” he says, with a wry smile. Sometimes, he manages to squeeze two Forward-related digs into a single speech. “Things don’t feel like they are going forward,” Mr. Romney said in Ames, Iowa, on Thursday. “It feels more like backward.”

 

Presidential candidates’ messages inevitably evolve: the fight for the ideologically rigid in the primary yields to a contest for apolitical independents in the general election. Mr. Romney, for instance, has talked about single mothers from time to time. Last year, he told them to “hold on” as he prepared to deliver economic help. Now, he generously praises single mothers for scrimping to put “a great meal at the table for her kids.”

 

Kevin Madden, a senior adviser to Mr. Romney, said the possibility of becoming president had influenced how he was talking. “You probably never get acclimated to or comfortable with the rigors of campaigning, but the idea of actually getting to work governing has helped him elevate and crystallize his closing argument,” Mr. Madden said. “The closing argument that Governor Romney has been engaged in is an embrace of the notion of actually governing.”

 

Top of Page

 

 

 

Obama’s Campaign Goes Empty And Strident: George F. Will, Washington Post, Oct. 31, 2012

Energetic in body but indolent in mind, Barack Obama in his frenetic campaigning for a second term is promising to replicate his first term, although simply apologizing would be appropriate.

 

Vote for Romney: Editorial, The Washington Times, Oct. 31, 2012

One fact is manifestly evident though: American greatness will not be resurrected by the community organizer from Illinois who doesn’t believe in American exceptionalism.

 

Obama’s Israel Trust Gap: Matt Abelson, Times of Israel, Oct. 31, 2012

This president (to invoke a Yiddish expression) “doesn’t feel Israel in his kishkes”. Perhaps that is why Mr. Obama not only overwhelmingly failed to win the trust of the Israeli public, but – worse still – he never even tried.

 

The Pro-Islamist Obama Administration: A Case Study in Syria: Barry Rubin, PJ Media, Nov. 1, 2012

The Syrian National Council story is a terrific case study of how the Obama Administration has trashed U.S. interests abroad, and especially in the Middle East.

 

 

Visit CIJR’s Bi-Weekly Webzine: Israzine.

CIJR’s ISRANET Daily Briefing is available by e-mail.
Please urge colleagues, friends, and family to visit our website for more information on our ISRANET series.
To join our distribution list, or to unsubscribe, visit us at http://www.isranet.org/.

The ISRANET Daily Briefing is a service of CIJR. We hope that you find it useful and that you will support it and our pro-Israel educational work by forwarding a minimum $90.00 tax-deductible contribution [please send a cheque or VISA/MasterCard information to CIJR (see cover page for address)]. All donations include a membership-subscription to our respected quarterly ISRAFAX print magazine, which will be mailed to your home.

CIJR’s ISRANET Daily Briefing attempts to convey a wide variety of opinions on Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish world for its readers’ educational and research purposes. Reprinted articles and documents express the opinions of their authors, and do not necessarily reflect the viewpoint of the Canadian Institute for Jewish Research.

 

 

Ber Lazarus, Publications Editor, Canadian Institute for Jewish ResearchL'institut Canadien de recherches sur le Judaïsme, www.isranet.org

Tel: (514) 486-5544 – Fax:(514) 486-8284 ; ber@isranet.org

As Nov. 6 Looms & Benghazi Issue Builds: Can Romney – Reviving The Moderation Jews Like – Win?

A Short Guide to the Benghazi Issue: Barry Rubin, Jewish Press, October 30th, 2012

According to the dominant view of the Western academic elites, mass media, and even governments, we have done things in the past—which require apologies—and are doing things in the present that makes people angry at America who otherwise would be friendly.

 

_________________________________________________

 

Romney Revives Moderate Stance that Attracted Jews: Ron Kampeas, Jerusalem Post, Oct. 29, 2012

Mitt Romney’s record as a moderate Republican governor would seem to have made him ideally suited to peel off Jewish votes from President Obama. The problem is that he spent much of the past half decade running from that past.

 

Why Romney Will Win: Michael Novak, National Review, October 30, 2012 

Many friends are telling me that most of the European media are expecting President Obama to be reelected. If so, they are likely to be shocked on election day. As of October 23 (just after the third and final debate), [polls] showed Governor Romney beating the president with over 51 percent, and by between four and six points.

 

 

On Topic Links

 

 

Watching the Collapse of the Obama Campaign: Jack Kelly, Real Clear Politics, Oct. 29, 2012

To My Fellow Jews-You Can Vote For Mitt Romney, or You Can Commit Jew-i-cide: Jeff Kunetz, Yid with Lid, Oct. 29, 2012

Obama Loses his 2008 Coalition: Jennifer Rubin, Washington Post, Oct. 29, 2012
Why I’m Voting for Romney: Michael Goodwin, New York Post, Oct. 28, 2012

Romney Promises to Keep Israel in The Loop: Stuart Winer, Times of Israel, Oct. 30, 2012

 

 

 

A SHORT GUIDE TO THE BENGHAZI ISSUE

Barry Rubin

Jewish Press, October 30th, 2012

 

 “Where do They come from, those whom we so much dread, As on our dearest location falls the chill Of their crooked wing….” –W.H. Auden, “Crisis,” (1940)

The attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi and the murder of four Americans there has become a huge issue. There are many stories and rumors that are still being debated and more information is coming out. What I’m going to try to do here is to analyze the enduring themes raised by these tragic events.

Why Do They Hate Us? There is a debate over the causes of terrorism and anti-Americanism in the world. One possible view is that the principal problem is that of genuine conflict. The adversaries hold certain ideological ideas—say, revolutionary Islamism—to which American society and policies are antithetical. The collision (as with Communism, Nazism, and aggressive Japanese militarism in earlier decades) is inevitable. The United States is inconveniencing the totalitarians both because of what it does (policies) and because of what it represents (freedom, democracy, capitalism).

The other view currently dominates many Western academic “experts,” politicians, mass media, and even governments. That concept is that the hatred is our own fault. We have done things in the past—which require apologies—and are doing things in the present that makes people angry at America who otherwise would be friendly.

An exception is made for a “tiny minority of extremists,” mainly a code word for al-Qaida, but the more sophisticated argument is that such people would have no following if America handled things properly.  Thus, in this case, if American facilities are attacked in Cairo and Benghazi it must have been something America did wrong, to wit, an insulting video made by an immigrant from the Middle East about Islam.

Diagnosing the problem tells one what the cure is: sensitivity; respect; tightening rules against such insults; bowing and scraping; refusing to identify radicals and terrorists with Islam in any way; giving large amounts of money; helping the Muslim Brotherhood so it will be grateful later; telling the NASA director to make up stuff about Muslim contributions to space travel, etc. That is the path the Obama Administration, with major support from the intellectual-cultural establishment, has followed.

Why Do Some of Us Hate Ourselves?

The answer to this question follows from the first answer. If “we” are responsible for the hatred and conflict, then we have done evil and must repent. We are the problem or, as one much-feted American intellectual put it, the United States is the cancer of the world.

In the Benghazi case, however, it is hard to come up with more than a video, according to the dominant view. After all, didn’t the United States “liberate” Libya from a terrible dictator? Of course, the problem is that from the standpoint of the radicals, the United States merely became Libya’s new master, blocking the revolutionary Islamist, Sharia state they wanted, producing a “puppet” (who cares if it was elected?) government.

America is thus the prime enemy not because it did something evil but because it did something which the U.S. government regarded as good. If they hate us in Libya for sinful policies, then President Barack Obama, not the Egyptian-born video producer, is the chief sinner.

Is America a Bully or a Leader? As noted above, the establishment view today is that America has been a bully in the past, acting unilaterally and not respecting the views of others. Obama has said this directly when speaking to foreign—including Middle Eastern—audiences.

But how does one stop being a bully? By showing that one isn’t tough, doesn’t protect one’s interests fiercely. Thus, in the Benghazi case, the U.S. government didn’t send the ambassador to Benghazi with Americans to guard him, nor did the consulate have Americans to provide security. To do so would be to show disrespect for the Libyans, to act in a way that might be perceived of as imperialistic.

Similarly, the president would not call in an airstrike against the attackers or send an armed rescue team to the consulate because to do so would have signaled an arrogance and aggressiveness, putting Americans first and not acting as a citizen of the world.

Who is the Enemy? If the enemy is defined as solely al-Qaida this allows a policy of treating all other Islamists—even the Afghan Taliban!—as a potential friend. Both Vice-President Biden and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, for example, explained that leading elements of the Taliban, a group complicit in the September 11 attacks, could be won over. Certainly, the Muslim Brotherhood —the world’s largest and most powerful international anti-American organization—was helped and treated as a potential ally.

Al-Qaida, however, is a relatively weak organization, capable of staging only sporadic terror attacks, with the exception perhaps of remote Somalia, Yemen, Afghanistan, and parts of Pakistan. It cannot take over whole countries. The fact that Egypt, the Gaza Strip, Lebanon, Turkey, and perhaps soon Syria are governed by Islamists is a far greater strategic threat.

Then why couldn’t the Obama Administration have said that the consulate was attacked by evil al-Qaida for no reason other than its lust to murder Americans, with the perfect symbolism of the attack having been staged on September 11?

There was a dual problem. First, the group involved was one the U.S. government had worked with during the Libyan civil war so it could not admit they were close to al-Qaida. Second, the official line was that al-Qaida had been defeated so it could not still be a threat. Therefore, an alternative narrative and a cover-up were needed.

Competence and Courage

Once upon a time a candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination warned that if Obama was elected president he would not be reliable in a crisis, answering a 3 AM phone call requiring instant response. That claim, of course, came from Hillary Clinton. Benghazi was that phone call….

There is, or should be, a sacred trust between the U.S. government and those who put themselves in harm’s way for the sake of America. Everything should be done to protect and save them. In this case, however, the country’s leaders let those people down both before and during the crisis.

Note, too, how unintentionally revealingly Obama responded to this issue in the presidential debate. Once the crisis was over, Obama said, he swung into action, securing those who still survived, investigating who was responsible, and promising to punish them.

What about before and during the multi-hour assault? Silence. The details–for example, whether or not there was a drone overhead–obscure the fact that no proper preparations were made for the ambassador and consulate being unprotected and that passivity prevailed during the battle. If the U.S. government didn’t trust the Libyans wouldn’t that show that America thought itself superior and its interests to override those of others? And isn’t that racist?

One could say that the Obama Administration’s failure to act denotes incompetence, and there is truth there. But the larger picture is that it was a failure due to its concept of America and the world. The real danger is not from totalitarian enemies grown bolder in the face of American weakness and a loss of self-confidence. No, according to the prevailing view, it was rather excessive American self-confidence and strength in the past.
 

The effort to change those bad old ways, to open a new era with completely different behavior, the failure to perceive the real enemies and to understand America’s rights and duties were the causes of the incident in Benghazi, and many other setbacks as well. The chickens have come back to roost and have roosted in the White House. And the vultures are gathering.  (Top of Page)


 

ROMNEY REVIVES MODERATE STANCE THAT ATTRACTED JEWS

Ron Kampeas

Jerusalem Post, Oct. 29, 2012

 

Mitt Romney’s record as a moderate Republican governor would seem to have made him ideally suited to peel off Jewish votes from President Obama. The problem is that he spent much of the past half decade running from that past.

 

Now, however, as the campaign draws to a close, Romney is ditching his “severely conservative” primary persona, as he famously described himself, and trying to remind voters about the centrist Republican who once governed Massachusetts. Given his recent rise in the polls, the strategy appears to be paying off.

 

In addition to enhancing the Republican nominee’s appeal to undecided and swing voters, the shift also could help Romney with a subset of Jewish voters disillusioned with Obama over the economy and the Middle East but who do not necessarily subscribe to conservative positions on domestic and social issues.

 

While Democrats continue to portray Romney as beholden to the right, his Jewish surrogates have embraced his move to the middle and argue that, if elected, Romney will govern more from the center than his critics suggest. “It's no different for any politician of any stripe or ilk,” said Fred Zeidman, a Houston businessman and former chairman of the US Holocaust Memorial Council who is a leading Romney fundraiser. “You look at anybody running, you look at President Obama, he tacks left when he’s campaigning."

 

On social issues, Romney's emphasis during the primaries was on the narrative that led him, as governor, to evolve from a supporter of abortion rights to an opponent. But since getting the nomination, he has looked to highlight his differences with more ardent abortion foes, saying in an October interview that abortion legislation is not part of his agenda.

 

On health policy, Romney’s pledge to repeal “Obamacare” now includes a promise to preserve some popular aspects of the health care reform. At a debate, Romney said that his health plan would cover pre-existing conditions and allow young people to stay on their families' health insurance….

 

On Middle East policy — an area seen by his supporters as one of his major selling points to Jewish voters — Romney has also softened some of his tough talk of late. In the candidates’ foreign policy debate, Romney accompanied his longstanding criticism of Obama’s policies on Iran with a reassurance that he would exhaust all options before considering a direct military confrontation.

 

Romney’s expression of pessimism at a May fundraiser about prospects for Israeli-Palestinian peace…has been followed by promises to pursue a two-state solution. Speaking at the Virginia Military Institute, Romney vowed to “recommit America to the goal of a democratic, prosperous Palestinian state living side by side in peace and security with the Jewish state of Israel.”…

 

“‘Severely conservative’ Romney has pledged to be a ‘pro-life president,’ and when he's tried to give some semblance of moderation, his staunchest anti-choice supporters jump in to knock down any notion that he is anything but solidly in their camp,” David Harris, the National Jewish Democratic Council’s president, wrote recently in the Washington Jewish Week.

 

Some Jewish supporters, however, counter that Romney’s stance on abortion is not the paramount issue that his critics make it out to be. “They continue to miss opportunities by harping on the issue of abortion,” Matt Brooks, the Republican Jewish Coalition’s executive director, said in an interview during the Republican convention. “This is something they have been trying to scare people with for decades, and yet access to abortion in this country continues despite having incredibly conservative presidents and a conservative court.”

 

The RJC has focused much of its effort to woo Jewish voters on Middle East policy, although it also has emphasized the struggling economy. On Israel, Romney has tried to distinguish himself from the president by arguing that he would have a closer and more harmonious relationship with Israel and Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, who faces an election contest January 22.

 

“I will make clear that America’s commitment to Israel’s security and survival as a Jewish state is absolute, and will demonstrate that commitment to the world by making Jerusalem the destination of my first foreign trip,” Romney wrote in reply to an American Jewish Committee questionnaire. “Unlike President Obama, I understand that distancing the US from Israel doesn't earn us credibility in the Arab world or bring peace closer.”…He has also promised that as president he would not allow disagreements with Israel to be aired in public….

 

By the time he made his second run for president, Romney already had built good relationships with Jewish Republicans from his first term as governor and his first presidential run. Romney’s record of moderation made him a natural fit with the party’s Jews, Zeidman said.

 

“A lot of people in Boston and on Wall Street knew him and respected him,” Zeidman said of the period in 2005-2006 when Romney started exploring his first presidential run. “But he had yet to be in a position where he addressed the Jewish community at large. Now we know what kind of problem solver he is, we know his integrity, his ability to get things done and that as Jews we never have to be concerned about his commitment to the security of the State of Israel.”…

 

For his first job after graduating from Harvard Business School, Romney joined Boston Consulting Group, where he first met a young Binyamin Netanyahu who was employed there at the time. Today, Romney speaks of his strong bond with the Israeli prime minister…(Top of Page)

 

 

 

WHY ROMNEY WILL WIN

Michael Novak

National Review, October 30, 2012

 

Many friends are telling me that most of the European media are expecting President Obama to be reelected. If so, they are likely to be shocked on election day. In the U.S., there are 26 national polling firms. The one I count most trustworthy is Rasmussen (which came closest to hitting the exact result for 2008), and the oldest and best known is Gallup. As of October 23 (just after the third and final debate), both showed Governor Romney beating the president with over 51 percent, and by between four and six points.

 

The United States has never before had to make a choice like this — between two different ways of life. This is a choice about whether we want the United States to become more like the European welfare states. Or, rather, to stick to our own traditional ways: risk, creativity, growth, and opportunity. Obama acts consistently to make the United States like Europe. No wonder many Europeans cheer him on.

 

Of course, Obama could yet win. The week remaining before the November 6 election might still hold many surprises. The Democratic party is famous, when it is losing, for launching October Surprises — dramatic actions, or sudden damaging revelations about the opposing candidate. Besides, our media (except for Fox News) have become extremist in their support for Obama.     

 

Yet this lack of balance is not necessarily a disadvantage for Governor Romney. The press is misleading the public (and itself) about what is really happening on the ground, among ordinary people.  To keep one’s feet on the ground in the United States, one must watch which candidate working males — steelworkers, miners, gas-station attendants, truck drivers, and so on — are favoring. And which way married women are trending. Ever since Reagan, most working males and married women trend markedly Republican. They are especially strong for Romney.

 

By contrast, the Democrats, the Party of Government, strongly attract single women, both unmarried and widows. President Obama also appeals to the new “counterculture” that celebrates abortion, gay marriage, and a morally relaxed culture. They are locked in a “culture war” against traditional American virtues ( biblical, Jewish and Christian). In Europe, many refer to these as “puritan” values.

 

But, then, the narrow, strict “puritan” culture of Massachusetts and Rhode Island did not extend its sway to the South and the West. “Out there,” Christianity was barely present in the “churchy” forms familiar to Europeans. The South and the West favored the relaxed style of the “free churches” — more informal, associational, open and friendly, “Spirit-moved,” even a bit enthusiastic.

 

Persons formed in this environment are less inclined to accept statism and its bureaucracies, and labor unions and their enforced electoral solidarity. They take pride in self-reliance, self-government, and personal self-control. Their type of living requires certain solid habits in people, not the “loose” ways of urban secularism….

 

To be sure, urban secularism via television, the movies, and the popular-music industry has spread its magnetic allure all through the countryside by now. But the older ways still matter to churchgoers and married couples. Thus, “the culture war.”

 

More important just now is the havoc wrought on the American economy by President Obama’s statist actions. Middle-class families during the last four years have lost scores of thousands of dollars in the net worth of their homes (their largest investment by far). They have lost over $4,300 per family in real income. Prices of common, humble goods — coal, gas, electricity, food — have risen steadily. In daily life, everything costs more, from food for one’s family to fuel for one’s automobile. The pain is felt many times a day.

 

And still there is the huge weight of public debt — climbing every second of every day, and heading for an additional $5 trillion just in the last four years. This debt is an enormous tax laid on our children and grandchildren. Many count this as cross-generational theft, an immorality of the first order.

 

And opportunity! Opportunity is to Americans what security is to Europeans. Millions wonder, “Where has opportunity gone?” Few new jobs; 21 million people without jobs, including those millions who after four years have given up searching. Almost half of all university graduates last year could not find jobs, and have returned to live with their parents.

 

It would take us too far afield here to explain how President Obama’s abuse of religious liberty — especially but not only of the Catholic Church — has driven away many who voted for him in 2008. For instance, in 2008 a slim majority of churchgoing Catholics voted for Obama. This time, most of those Catholics who go to church “seldom or never” prefer Obama. But those who go to church “weekly or almost weekly” tell pollsters, by a margin of 59 percent to 34 percent, that they will vote for Romney this time.

 

Voters who swing from one party to another between elections count twice. They take one vote from Obama, say, and give that vote to Romney. At present, at least 1.5 million churchgoing Catholics say they will switch from Obama to Romney. That counts as a swing of 3 million votes.

 

Under Obama the poor have suffered more than anyone else. Millions have fallen into poverty — back to levels not seen since the late 1960s. The official poverty line is roughly $24,000 annually for a family of four.                        

 

It is always wise to think that your own side is behind, the other ahead. That way, your whole team works harder. By all accounts, this year the Republicans have more enthusiasm and eagerness. The Democrats seem less spirited. Recently every day shows more strength for Romney, especially in the most hotly contested states. But that, of course, can change. In an election campaign, a week can seem an eternity.

 

(Top of Page)

 

 

 

 

Watching the Collapse of the Obama Campaign: Jack Kelly, Real Clear Politics, Oct. 29, 2012

The Navy needs more ships, Mitt Romney said in last Monday's debate. It has fewer now than in 1916. President Barack Obama pounced. "Well, governor, we also have fewer horses and bayonets, because the nature of our military's changed," he said, his voice dripping with sarcasm. "We have these things called aircraft carriers where planes land on them … " Mr. Obama was wrong on both the thrust of his argument, and on the examples he used.

 

To My Fellow Jews-You Can Vote For Mitt Romney, Or You Can Commit Jew-i-cide: Jeff Kunetz, Yid with Lid, Oct. 29, 2012

 

There is no other way to put it.  Any Jew who believes in the State of Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish State and still votes for Barack Obama next week is committing Jew-i-cide. 

 

Obama Loses his 2008 Coalition: Jennifer Rubin, Washington Post, Oct. 29, 2012

Four years ago the Republican Party was in danger of losing status as a national party, pundits said. It was too white, too southern and too old. The GOP still has a long way to go with minority voters, but after President’s Obama four years in office the Republican presidential ticket is appealing to women, voters in blue state strongholds and independents.

 

Why I’m Voting for Romney: Michael Goodwin, New York Post, Oct. 28, 2012

Each time I mention that I voted for Barack Obama in 2008, I get a blast from some who didn’t. “How could you be so dumb?” is a typical response to my confession. It is certainly a confession — of error. Obama fooled me once, but not twice. I’m voting for Mitt Romney Nov. 6th.

 

Romney Promises To Keep Israel In The Loop: Stuart Winer, Times of Israel, Oct. 30, 2012

“Our closest allies, like Israel, will not learn about our plans from The New York Times,” Romney wrote. “And I’ll be clear with the American people about where I’m heading. I won’t be secretly asking the Ayatollahs for more flexibility following some future election.”

 

 

 

Visit CIJR’s Bi-Weekly Webzine: Israzine.

CIJR’s ISRANET Daily Briefing is available by e-mail.
Please urge colleagues, friends, and family to visit our website for more information on our ISRANET series.
To join our distribution list, or to unsubscribe, visit us at http://www.isranet.org/.

The ISRANET Daily Briefing is a service of CIJR. We hope that you find it useful and that you will support it and our pro-Israel educational work by forwarding a minimum $90.00 tax-deductible contribution [please send a cheque or VISA/MasterCard information to CIJR (see cover page for address)]. All donations include a membership-subscription to our respected quarterly ISRAFAX print magazine, which will be mailed to your home.

CIJR’s ISRANET Daily Briefing attempts to convey a wide variety of opinions on Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish world for its readers’ educational and research purposes. Reprinted articles and documents express the opinions of their authors, and do not necessarily reflect the viewpoint of the Canadian Institute for Jewish Research.

 

 

Ber Lazarus, Publications Editor, Canadian Institute for Jewish ResearchL'institut Canadien de recherches sur le Judaïsme, www.isranet.org

Tel: (514) 486-5544 – Fax:(514) 486-8284 ; ber@isranet.org

OBAMA, ISRAEL & THE “JEWISH VOTE”— WILL HE WIN IT? AND WILL IT REMAIN “JEWISH”?

 

 

 

JEWISH DEMS LOSING FAITH IN OBAMA
Ben Smith

Politico, June 29, 2011

 

David Ainsman really began to get worried about President Barack Obama’s standing with his fellow Jewish Democrats when a recent dinner with his wife and two other couples—all Obama voters in 2008—nearly turned into a screaming match.

Ainsman, a prominent Democratic lawyer and Pittsburgh Jewish community leader, was trying to explain that Obama had just been offering Israel a bit of “tough love” in his May 19 speech on the Arab Spring. His friends disagreed—to say the least. One said he had the sense that Obama “took the opportunity to throw Israel under the bus.” Another…admitted he’d lost faith in the president.

If several dozen interviews…are any indication, a similar conversation is taking place in Jewish communities across the country. Obama’s speech last month seems to have crystallized the doubts many pro-Israel Democrats had about Obama in 2008 in a way that could, on the margins, cost the president votes and money in 2012 and will not be easy to repair.…

The immediate controversy sparked by the speech was Obama’s statement that Israel should embrace the country’s 1967 borders, with “land swaps,” as a basis for peace talks. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu seized on the first half of that phrase and the threat of a return to what Israelis sometimes refer to as “Auschwitz borders.” Obama’s Jewish allies stressed the second half: that land swaps would—as American negotiators have long contemplated—give Israel security in its narrow middle, and the deal would give the country international legitimacy and normalcy.

But the noisy fray after the speech mirrored any number of smaller controversies. Politically hawkish Jews and groups such as the Republican Jewish Coalition and the Emergency Committee for Israel pounded Obama in news releases. White House surrogates and staffers defended him, as did the plentiful American Jews who have long wanted the White House to lean harder on Israel’s conservative government.

Based on [numerous] conversations, it’s hard to resist the conclusion that some kind of tipping point has been reached.

Most of those interviewed were center-left American Jews and Obama supporters—and many of them Democratic donors. On some core issues involving Israel, they’re well to the left of Netanyahu and many Americans: They refer to the “West Bank,” not to “Judea and Samaria,” fervently supported the Oslo peace process and Israel’s unilateral withdrawal from Gaza and believe in the urgency of creating a Palestinian state.

But they are also fearful for Israel at a moment of turmoil in a hostile region when the moderate Palestinian Authority is joining forces with the militantly anti-Israel Hamas.… Some of these traditional Democrats now say, to their own astonishment, that they’ll consider voting for a Republican in 2012. And many of those who continue to support Obama said they find themselves constantly on the defensive in conversations with friends.…

The qualms that many Jewish Democrats express about Obama date back to his emergence onto the national scene in 2007. Though he had warm relations with Chicago’s Jewish community, he had also been friends with leading Palestinian activists, unusual in the Democratic establishment. And though he seemed to be trying to take a conventionally pro-Israel stand, he was a novice at the complicated politics of the America-Israel relationship, and his sheer inexperience showed at times.

At the 2007 AIPAC Policy Conference, Obama professed his love for Israel but then seemed—to some who were there for his informal talk—to betray a kind of naivete about the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians: “The biggest enemy” he said, using the same rhetoric he applied to American politics, was “not just terrorists, it’s not just Hezbollah, it’s not just Hamas—it’s also cynicism.”

At the next year’s AIPAC conference, he again botched the conflict’s code, committing himself to an “undivided Jerusalem” and then walking it back the next day.

Those doubts and gaffes lingered, even for many of the majority who supported him.

“There’s an inclination in the community to not trust this president’s gut feel on Israel and every time he sets out on a path that’s troubling you do get this ‘ouch’ reaction from the Jewish Community because they’re distrustful of him,” said the president of a major national Jewish organization, who declined to be quoted by name to avoid endangering his ties to the White House.

Many of Obama’s supporters, then and now, said they were unworried about the political allegiance of Jewish voters. Every four years, they say, Republicans claim to be making inroads with American Jews, and every four years, voters and donors go overwhelmingly for the Democrats, voting on a range of issues that include, but aren’t limited to Israel.…

That, perhaps, is the crux of the political question: Pro-Israel Jewish voters and activists…are largely die-hard Democrats, few of whom have ever cast a vote for a Republican to be president. Does the new wave of Jewish angst matter?…

 

THAT GALLUP POLL ON JEWS AND OBAMA
John Podhoretz
Contentions, July 5, 2011

 

The talk of the Jewish world today is that Gallup has found no significant change in the president’s popularity among Jews after the controversies of the past few months. Gallup measures his approval at 60 percent, statistically unchanged from the 64 percent previously measured—but significantly changed from the 80 percent he registered a few months into 2009. So an argument is raging about what this means—an argument that largely misses the point about the nature of the difficulty between Obama and the Jewish community. For those Jews whose support for the president was going to be affected by his behavior toward Israel, the damage was pretty much done last year. In one sense, then, what the president’s behavior this year has done is to make it unlikely his popularity among Jews will rise again to the levels it once enjoyed. So by continuing to behave in a manner many of us perceive as hostile, he has solidified some opposition among those who were enthusiastic about him in 2008.…

This doesn’t mean Jews won’t vote for him again, and in landslide numbers, in 2012—especially if the Republicans put up someone Jews decide to despise. But which Jews vote or don’t vote for Obama doesn’t matter all that much except when it comes to conversations around the seder table.

Where it matters—where Obama’s team is clearly worried and where it is seeking to come up with counterarguments to give to surrogates—is money. It’s one thing to cast a single vote as the member of a small minority community to which outsized attention is paid. But Jews are uncommonly generous givers, both philanthropically and politically, and while they might still cast a vote for Obama, they might give him nothing. Or half what they gave him in 2008. And that decline in enthusiasm might be reflected not only in giving to the reelection campaign, but to Democratic campaigns generally. That’s the real fear, and that’s the real problem for the Democrats. They have Jewish support at the ballot box. They can bank on that. They’re worried they won’t be able to bank on Jewish support in the other sense of the term, and that worry is very real, and very realistic, and can’t be argued away.

 

OBAMA, ISRAEL AND THE JEWISH VOTE
Editorial

Jerusalem Post, July 5, 2011

 

Judging from voting trends during the past three decades, Democratic President Barack Obama can rest assured that he will receive a majority of Jewish votes in the 2012 presidential election. Even Ronald Reagan, who was the only modern Republican presidential candidate to seriously challenge Democrats’ dominance among Jews, mustered just 39 percent of the Jewish vote in the 1980 elections. Subsequent Republican candidates have received anywhere from 11% to 24% of the Jewish vote. In the last elections, John McCain received 22% to Obama’s 78%.

That said, a report by Ben Smith in Politico at the end of June, which has generated quite a bit of attention, claims to have located a possible “tipping point” in American Jewish opinion. Obama’s falling out with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, during the latter’s May visit to Washington, purportedly has forced more center-left Jews to reconsider their political loyalties ahead of next year’s presidential race.…

It might very well be an exaggeration, however, to claim that the US president is losing the Jewish vote over his policies vis-a-vis Israel. As JTA’s Washington bureau chief Ron Kampeas blogged recently, [American Jewish Committee] surveys in the past four years have shown that Israel has consistently ranked no more than fifth on American Jewish voters’ priority list. Ranking higher are domestic matters such as unemployment, house prices and health care, and international military conflicts in which US soldiers’ lives were under constant danger.

In addition, a recent Pew Research Center poll found that Americans in general (there was no breakdown for Jews) perceive the Obama administration to have a fundamentally positive approach to Israel. In a survey conducted just days after Obama’s May 19 State Department speech and his May 22 AIPAC address, 50% said the president was striking the right balance in the Middle East situation, while 21% said he favors the Palestinians too much.…

Regardless of the Pew poll results, however, there may have been a turn for the worse in the White House’s position on Israel, as Elliott Abrams, a senior fellow for Middle Eastern studies at the Washington-based Council on Foreign Relations, argued in an interview with The Jerusalem Post’s Herb Keinon that appeared in Friday’s paper.

A prime example pointing to such a shift is Obama’s refusal to reaffirm former president George Bush’s 2004 letter, endorsed in overwhelming majorities in both houses of Congress. A central element in the letter was its rejection of the notion that any Israeli-Palestinian agreement would include a full and complete return to the 1949 armistice lines. Obama, in contrast, has insisted on using the 1949 borders as the basis for talks, with land swaps to compensate the Palestinians for territories beyond the armistice lines that remain under Israeli control. In essence, this means Israel will be forced, according to Abrams, to “give up sovereign Green Line territory to keep the Kotel,” a “ridiculous” demand that seriously weakens the Israeli negotiating position.

Another example given by Abrams is the Obama administration’s different approach to the United Nations. The Bush administration cast nine vetoes blocking anti-Israel resolutions in the Security Council over an eight-year span, out of a conviction that the UN is inherently biased against Israel. In contrast, the Obama administration “is desperate to avoid vetoes,” Abrams said.

Abrams also implied that until now Obama might have been constrained by domestic politics and that in a second term he might feel freer to place more pressure on Israel. Perhaps this helps explain the Palestinians’ success in using their September statehood bid in the UN to put pressure on Israel.

Obama will undoubtedly continue to enjoy wide support among American Jewry. But it is a sobering thought…that this does not mean his Mideast policies will be good for Israel.

 

THE JEWISH VOTE
Daniel Greenfield

Daniel Greenfield Blog, July 5, 2011

 

Every election season brings another round of predictable essays about the Jewish vote. Variations of these essays have been going round and round for decades without getting anywhere. So let’s begin by demystifying the Jewish vote.

The Jewish vote is not a single entity. There is no monolithic Jewish vote, because there is no monolithic Jewish community. The Jewish community is small, but in its own way it is as complex and diverse as American Christians are. Which is to say that there’s a Jewish spectrum covering everything from Baptists to Unitarians. And politically everything from Rand to Marx.

Let’s begin by breaking down the Jewish vote into thirds as a way to get a larger overview of the picture on the ground.

The first third is conservative. They may be socially conservative, economically conservative or both. This covers everything from Hasidic Jews who are worried about moral decay to gay millionaires who are fans of Ayn Rand. It covers the Russian Jewish immigrant who is active in the Tea Party and the former liberal living in the suburbs who slowly finds herself drifting to the right. This group will vote Republican if there are available and viable candidates.…

The second third is liberal. This group ranges from hard core leftists to more mainstream liberals. It will rarely if ever vote for Republicans, unless they are of the Bloomberg type, and even then it will usually vote for the party’s choice. It is strongly socially liberal and for big government. It is somewhat liberal on foreign policy issues. Its positions on Israel vary from hard core antis to pro-peace and pro-security.

This is the progressive camp. Its influence significantly outweighs its numbers, because it includes a greater share of academics, media figures, writers, organization executives and other opinion leaders. When someone claiming to represent the Jewish community speaks out on an issue, it’s usually one of them. And rising to the top without being in this camp is difficult.

The final third is moderate or middle of the road. This group is squishy, it typically does not hold very strong political opinions. It usually follows the majority or whatever the conventional position seems to be. It believes that government should help people, but is less enthusiastic about many social issues. It is fairly pro-Israel, but believes that the Democrats and Republicans are both equally pro-Israel. But members of this group do sometimes begin to worry about radicals like Carter or Obama.…

When serious doubts are raised, then members of this group become the swing vote. The entire group never shifts, but percentages of it do.

This is just a rough snapshot. These numbers derive from a Jewish community in flux. Underneath this there are deeper demographic issues. For example the Jewish vote becomes more conservative out West, and more liberal back East.…

The Jewish population has been slowly drifting out of the central areas in New York and California to the suburbs and beyond. The Northeast now holds less than half of the Jewish population in America. The South and the West each host about a quarter. The Republican House Majority Leader is a Jewish man from Virginia. A geographical shift does not mean an immediate political shift, but politics are often contextual. The kind of voting that makes sense in New York City, does not always make sense in Arizona.

Then there’s immigration. The Jewish immigrants of the 1990’s and onward tend to be Russian or Middle-Eastern and conservative. Unlike the Russian and Eastern European immigrants of the 1890’s-1930’s who were fleeing right wing tyrannies, the 1990’s Russian and Eastern European immigrants were escaping totalitarian left-wing regimes. And that has given them a worldview closer to the Cubans. The Middle-Eastern immigrants also tend to be socially conservative, with a bias toward free enterprise.…

The biggest demographic factor however is religious. Following a general pattern in American religious life, the more conservative religious movements are marrying earlier and having more children. Among Jews that means a rising demographic trend for the orthodox, who are claiming a larger percentage of the 18-29 population. The trend is not as definitive as in the UK, where three out of every four Jewish births are orthodox, but it will still define the future.

How significant is this? In a 2011 survey, 67 percent of Orthodox Jews found the Tea Party “refreshing”. Some exit polls [after the 2008 U.S. election] placed the Jewish vote for Obama at 78 percent. But Orthodox polling showed that the 78 percent went the other way, with McCain polling at 78 to Obama’s 13.…

The Jewish vote will not change overnight, but its trajectory is slowly shifting. The American Jewish population in a generation will be more conservative, less urban and less tied to the dinosaur leftist organizations that have exerted a death grip on Jewish life. It will be a day when The Forward is gone, the ADL is history and the Federations have lost their Jewish identity and have merged with other charities into a non-denominational grouping.…

The Jewish vote will look more like the way it did before the full impact of Eastern European immigration altered the scales. Roughly divided between both parties. And the political clock will have been turned back to the early 20th century.